All the pieces are coming together for St Vincent and the Grenadines

first_img Share “All the pieces are coming together” for St. Vincent and the Grenadines Kathryn Folliott TORONTO — With Mandarin Oriental just announcing its official debut on Canouan in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, news of another new resort for the island chain, from a well-known brand, is expected be made public within the next few weeks.St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Minister of Tourism, Sports and Culture, Cecil McKie, in Toronto this week to meet with industry partners and media this week, said “all the pieces are coming together” and construction on the new-build resort, on the main island of St. Vincent, should begin within the next three months.Interest in the Caribbean destination, always something of an off-the-beaten-track gem, has ramped up with the debut of the new Argyle International Airport. Open since February 2017, the airport is part of St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ years-long plan to attract international flights and – slowly but surely – boost its status as a tourism hotspot.Lift out of Canada for the 2018-19 winter season includes flights with Air Canada Rouge, with year-round nonstop Toronto to St. Vincent flights ramping up to twice weekly on Thursdays and Sundays in high winter season. ACV’s just-released Sun Collection 2018-19 brochure offers seven hotels in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.From the U.S., carriers servicing St. Vincent and the Grenadines include American Airlines out of Miami starting Dec. 15, and Caribbean Airlines ex New York (JFK).“We’re getting there slowly but surely,” says Glen Beache, CEO, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority. “We’ve done well for our first year of operations [with Argyle International Airport]. We need to have the room stock too.”Glen Beache, CEO, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority; Shelley John, Director of Sales, Canada for the St. Vincent and the Grenadines; and St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Minister of Tourism, Sports and Culture, Cecil McKieBeache adds: “I’ve never seen so much interest paid to St. Vincent and the Grenadines as I have now, with the new airport.”More news:  CIE Tours launches first-ever River Cruise CollectionWhile the destination is keen on attracting new hotel development, the first priority, as Beache notes, is “to keep the hotels full and give everybody the best experience possible.”St. Vincent and the Grenadines isn’t exclusively an upscale destination, but with islands like Mustique and Canouan, it’s easy for travellers – and travel agents – to make that assumption. “I think in the past it was marketed [as a luxury destination] and I think that was a mistake,” says Beache. The goal now is to go in the direction of four-star resorts.Some of the most popular resorts on the islands and cays – there are 32 in all, but only nine are inhabited – are Palm Island Resort, Petit St. Vincent and Buccament Bay Resort.The ‘new’ Mandarin Oriental, Canouan is in fact the former Pink Sands Club, Canouan. Mandarin Oriental announced the rebranding and an extensive renovation back in October 2017, and just this week Mandarin Oriental announced that the resort’s transformation was officially complete.More news:  Sunwing ready to launch Mazatlán-Quebec City direct this winterMore rooms are on the way at Black Sands Resort, now under construction on St. Vincent with 40 villas and a 200-room hotel.Meanwhile agents should be on the lookout for more hotel news from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, says McKie. “We welcome discussions with anyone with interests in our islands. The government has offered to partner with investors. We have an open door policy.”The islands also have plenty of draws for visitors, including a full list of festivals and events, kicking off at the beginning of the year with the Bequia Music Fest. In the summer Vincy Mas “is the hottest Carnival in the Caribbean, and the safest,” says McKie.Shelley John, Director of Sales, Canada for the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Office, says travel agents can hear all the news from the islands at upcoming roadshow events in St. Catharines, Oakville, Kingston, Ottawa and Montreal, taking place Sept. 24 – 28.For more details see discoversvg.com. Tags: St. Vincent and the Grenadines << Previous PostNext Post >> Thursday, July 26, 2018 Posted by About Latest Posts Kathryn FolliottEditor at TravelweekKathryn is Editor at Travelweek and has worked for the company since 1995. She has travelled to more than 50 countries and counts Hong Kong, Jerusalem, the Swiss Alps and the Galapagos Islands among her favourite destinations. Latest posts by Kathryn Folliott (see all) “They need to go where the bucks are”: Agents on ACTA partnership – April 18, 2019 As the cost of doing business climbs, host agencies, retail groups say they have options – April 4, 2019 As of 2021 Europe-bound clients will need to apply online for a visa waiver and pay a fee – April 3, 2019last_img read more

Heres why WestJet landed on the Not Real News list

first_img Tuesday, August 28, 2018 << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by TORONTO — It’s a sign of the times that news services have taken to compiling lists of fake news items, in an effort to weed out the real stories from the not-so-real.Wire news service The Associated Press says it’s dedicated to fact-checking misinformation that is shared widely online, and alerting users with roundups of fake news. Recently that roundup included WestJet.Not that the airline had done anything wrong. On the contrary, AP was drawing attention to an online ticket scam involving WestJet that the airline has been pushing back against for years with consumer warning advisories and blog posts.It’s the age-old Facebook-based free ticket scam, using WestJet’s branding.“THE FACTS: WestJet Airlines is not giving out two free tickets to celebrate its birthday despite an offer circulating on social media,” says AP.The scam asks users to fill out a survey to receive a pair of 332 remaining tickets. Afterward, users are asked to share the ad and type “Thanks for tickets #Westjet!” in the comments field. It then says users can click the ‘Claim Now’ button to enter their personal details.More news:  Hotel charges Bollywood star $8.50 for two bananas and the Internet has thoughtsThe advertisement “is not a legitimate offer,” says WestJet spokesperson Morgan Bell. Bell said more information about dealing with scams is available on the airline’s advisory page.The ‘Not Real News’ roundup with the WestJet item came out in recent days but the scam has been circulating for years. “I don’t understand why Facebook allows these scammers to freely post their frauds,” says one post on WestJet’s advisory blog. Here’s why WestJet landed on the Not Real News list With files from The Associated Press Travelweek Group Tags: Facebook, WestJet Sharelast_img read more

Ruling party leaders accused of corruption

first_imgCosta Rica’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal asked prosecutors to investigate 90 leaders of President Laura Chinchilla’s party for fraud against the state during the last election campaign, media reported last Friday.The daily La Nación said National Liberation Party officials included lawmakers, presidential advisers and senior party leaders.According to a court investigation revealed by the daily, the group charged the state some $800,000 for rental car contracts that never existed during Chinchilla’s 2010 presidential campaign.In some cases, funds were used to finance other campaign activities, while in other cases, it was unclear what was purchased  with the money, the report said.Lawmaker Óscar Alfaro, who led Chinchilla’s campaign in the capital, allegedly took about $26,000 intended for contracts and transferred the funds to a personal bank account.Among those named in the report were Jorge Bolaños, Costa Rica’s representative at the Central American Bank for Economic Integration, the campaign’s national treasurer, Alex Sibaja, and Chinchilla adviser Mario Álvarez.Chinchilla, who marks the end of her second year in office next week, has faced a series of recent corruption scandals, but so far she has not been personally involved.Over the past month, two of her closest collaborators – former Finance Minister Fernando Herrero and his wife and former presidential adviser Flor Isabel Rodríguez – resigned their posts after being accused of underreporting taxes and violating procurement laws. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

A 12yearold ghost is back at Estadio Azteca

first_imgA 3-5-10 record in World Cup elimination stages, eight years without scoring, a -17 goal differential and 105,000 people rooting against them are only some of the negative numbers Costa Rica will face tonight against Mexico.And yet, hope for a second “Aztecazo” has never been higher. In the last 12 years, Ticos have never been so optimistic about beating Mexico at home in the Estadio Azteca.Costa Rica and Mexico face off tonight in the fifth round of the final elimination stage for Brazil 2014 World Cup. In a three-way tie with the United States for the top spot, both teams aim to finish the first round of round robin games as leaders.Expectations in Mexico are high, as local and foreign journalists and experts debate over the visiting team’s chances of a surprise result.“Costa Rica has a team that can come to play fearlessly against Mexico, and have a good game,” said David Faitelson, a Mexican ESPN sports reporter who usually is overconfident of Mexican sports superiority over Central American teams. “Why not repeat 2001 and leave Estadio Azteca with more than a tie?”Many of Faitelson’s colleagues agree that Mexico is obligated to earn all 3 points at home, as the team has only had one win in 2013 (1-0 vs. Jamaica on June 4), following a 6-tie streak and another tie last Friday at Panama.As for Costa Rica, team morale is high following an important win at home against Honduras last Friday, and only one loss in this stage of eliminations against the U.S. in a controversial, snowy game in Denver last March.In the end, statistics and speculation don’t matter when both teams hit the field. But they’ll have to suffice until the 90-minute whistle is blown and history is written once again.CONCACAF standings:Costa Rica 2-1-1, 7 pointsUnited States 2-1-1, 7 pointsMexico 1-0-4, 7 pointsPanama 1-0-3, 6 pointsHonduras 1-2-1, 4 pointsJamaica 0-3-2, 2 pointsOther matchesUnited States vs. PanamaJamaica at Honduras Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

ARESEP announces pricing proposal for consumergenerated electricity

first_img Facebook Comments Related posts:Delays, excuses and gripes mark approaching deadline for distributed electricity generation in Costa Rica ICE could sell surplus electricity to neighboring countries Construction of Central America’s biggest hydroelectric dam is nearly finished in Costa Rica Benefits of solar energy on display at 2-day San José expo In the ongoing process to provide all electricity consumers in Costa Rica the ability to generate energy from small-scale renewable sources and exchange it on the national grid for kilowatt credits, the Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP) on Oct. 2 approved a methodology proposal for how to calculate rates at which those credits will be issued.Defining that methodology is a complex – yet crucial – step required of the regulatory agency for a nationwide, small-scale distributed generation system to get up and running.An April ARESEP directive, known by its Spanish acronym POASEN, set an Oct. 8 deadline – which expires today – for the country’s distributors to establish a system for net metering and grid interconnectivity.Many of those distributors with whom The Tico Times recently spoke mentioned the need for ARESEP to finish defining price methodology before they could move forward.According to ARESEP spokeswoman Carolina Mora, the proposal approved by ARESEP’s board of directors now must be evaluated in a public forum.No date for that public hearing has been announced yet, but once one is set, ARESEP will publish details in local newspapers and in the official government newspaper La Gaceta.Consumer-based distributed generation for personal consumption from wind, solar, biomass and other renewable sources allows consumers to tap into an electricity distributor’s network and use it as a type of “virtual battery.” Electricity is exported to the grid during peak production hours and exchanged for kilowatt credits. Consumers then can use those credits to extract electricity from the grid in low-production hours, such as at night.Distributors include the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE), the National Power and Light Company (CNFL), the Junta Administrativa del Servicios Eléctrico de Cartago (JASEC), the Empresa de Servicios Públicos de Heredia (ESPH), the Cooperativa de Electrificación Rural de Guanacaste (Coopeguanacaste), Cooperativa de Electrificación Rural de San Carlos (Coopelesca), Cooperativa de Electrificación de Los Santos (Coopesantos) and Cooperativa de Electrificación de Alfaro Ruiz (Coopealfaro Ruiz).Recommended: Delays, excuses and gripes mark approaching deadline for distributed electricity generation in Costa RicaICE already offers net metering to many consumers through an ongoing pilot program. Other distributors have set target dates for December to begin offering customers kilowatt credit and grid interconnection service.According to Mora, an ad hoc commission created by ARESEP defined the methodology. The document that describes the agreement, “Acuerdo 06-56-2014,” a copy of which was obtained by The Tico Times, states that “structured information is not available to serve as a basis for calculating a price that responds to the activity’s cost structure.” (Download the document here.)In lieu of that technical information, ARESEP proposed to “set the price based on the prudent average annual cost of purchasing energy and power that distribution companies buy from generating companies, and the prudent average annual cost of its generation.”It is a complicated and technical mathematical equation, and there is little in the document to describe in layman’s terms how the tariff will be calculated.Following public discussion, the ad hoc commission must analyze any opposition to the methodology, and then elaborate a final proposal.For years, some of Costa Rica’s electricity distributors dragged their feet on small-scale, consumer-generated distributed energy projects, adopting a “wait-and-see” approach while ICE developed its pilot program.The requirements distributors must meet by today’s deadline include: technical requisites with which distributors must comply for interconnection, operational guarantees for systems, a definition of the procedure for installation and service, and the creation of a contract that will regulate service between consumers and distributors.Following is a list of distributors and their estimated dates for grid interconnection service:Junta Administrativa del Servicios Eléctrico de Cartago (JASEC): Dec. 6, 2014Empresa de Servicios Públicos de Heredia (ESPH): Dec. 31, 2014Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE): Dec. 31, 2014Cooperativa de Electrificación Rural de Guanacaste (Coopeguanacaste): Dec. 31, 2014Cooperativa de Electrificación Rural de San Carlos (Coopelesca): Dec. 31, 2014Cooperativa de Electrificación de Los Santos (Coopesantos): Dec. 31, 2014Compañía Nacional de Fuerza y Luz (CNFL): March 18, 2015Cooperativa de Electrificación de Alfaro Ruiz (Coopealfaro Ruiz): Pendinglast_img read more

Pilot dead as Virgin spaceship crashes in US desert

first_imgHere’s how #SpaceShipTwo compared to the 1st @virgingalactic craft and the @NASA space shuttle pic.twitter.com/l44Z4yrT80— NYT Science (@NYTScience) October 31, 2014 Virgin Galactic said the fate of the pilots was unknown, but the California Highway Patrol confirmed reports that one pilot had died another was serious injured, and taken to hospital.“We will work closely with relevant authorities to determine the cause of this accident and provide updates as soon as we are able to do so,” Virgin said. Reserved seats The spaceship had been carried aloft on a bigger aircraft known as WhiteKnightTwo and then released for a test of its rocket engine above the Mojave desert, the latest in a series of tests.“SpaceShipTwo has been released by WhiteKnightTwo, and is now flying freely,” the firm wrote in a blow-by-blow account of the flight, adding: “Ignition! SpaceShipTwo is flying under rocket power again.”The next tweet announced the “anomaly” followed by a series confirming the crash. The company added that WhiteKnightTwo had landed safely after the accident.The U.S. air safety agency, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), said it was sending a team to the site of the crash.More than 500 people have already reserved seats — and paid a deposit on the $250,000 ticket price — for a minutes-long suborbital flight on SpaceShipTwo, which can carry six passengers.It is the commercial version of SpaceShipOne, the first private spacecraft to reach the edge of space in 2004, and which is now on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington.Private companies are rushing to fill the gap left by NASA, which ended its 30-year shuttle program in July with the completion of the final Atlantis mission to the International Space Station (ISS). #SpaceShipTwo has experienced an in-flight anomaly. Additional info and statement forthcoming.— Virgin Galactic (@virgingalactic) October 31, 2014 Will Virgin Galactic’s #SpaceShipTwo crash set back space tourism, @BBCAmos asks http://t.co/GZOQZ6VYid pic.twitter.com/BD8vQYpDfS— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) October 31, 2014center_img DiCaprio and fellow actors Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore are among those already reported to have booked their place.Earlier this year, “Titanic” star DiCaprio auctioned off a trip with him into space, raising 700,000 euros.Friday’s incident is the second involving an American spacecraft this week, after the Orbital Science rocket exploded six seconds after launch on a resupply mission to the ISS.Initial investigations into that explosion centered on the pair of rocket engines providing its thrust, which were made during the Soviet era and refurbished.The Ukrainian-designed AJ-26 engines date back to the 1960s and 1970s, and Aerojet Rocketdyne of Sacramento, California, has a stockpile that it refurbishes for Orbital Sciences.The Virgin crash also raised questions over a reality TV show, “Space Race.”The show, which was commissioned last year, pits contenders against each other to win a flight on the Virgin Galactic spacecraft, according to entertainment industry journal Variety. Facebook Comments Update: 6:06 p.m., Oct. 31:An AFP follow-up story titled “Virgin crash sets back space tourism by years” states the following (read the original story below):The deadly crash of Virgin Galactic’s spacecraft has dealt a devastating setback to the cause of space tourism, delaying the first commercial flights to the stars by years, experts said Friday.After several delays, Virgin Galactic had hoped to start ferrying passengers to the edge of space in 2015, ushering in a new era of tourism for those willing and wealthy enough to pay up to $250,000 for the privilege.But the pioneering dreams of British tycoon Richard Branson were left scattered across California’s Mojave Desert on Friday after the disaster that claimed Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo and the life of one of its pilots.“You are not going to see any commercial space tourism flight next year or probably several years after that,” said Marco Caceres, a senior space analyst and director of space studies for the Teal Group, a Washington-based defense and aerospace consultancy.“This certainly delays any Virgin Galactic commercial flight for at least two years or more.”He described Virgin as the leader “by far” of the nascent commercial space tourism industry.Virgin Galactic had already lined up 650 customers for its first flights on the craft, including a slew of celebrities.The fact that the accident came just days after a private rocket destined to take supplies to the International Space Station exploded shortly after take-off in Virginia on Tuesday will also likely hurt the space tourism industry.“It will delay this industry and by the same token delay any commercial tourism industry to orbit because the future development of the tourism industry is hinged to suborbital flights,” where passengers experience weightlessness for a few minutes and can enjoy the darkness of the cosmos while admiring the curvature of the Earth, Caceres said.“[Suborbital tourism] will attract the attention, the excitement of the public and if you delay this, the other of course is going to be delayed.”More tests neededCaceres said Virgin Galactic will now need to carry out a far greater number of tests before commercial flights could become a possibility.“Unfortunately there just have not been enough test flights with this vehicle. This was the downside,” he said.“They are doing a lot of testing on the ground but they are not doing enough in flight. They need to fly much more before they begin the commercial.”SpaceShipTwo was carried into the upper reaches of the atmosphere by a four-engine dual fuselage aircraft before being released and blasting off on a suborbital flight for around three hours. The craft is designed to carry two pilots and six passengers.Branson had vowed to be on the first flight next year along with his son. Virgin Galactic in May obtained authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration to launch its flights from a base in New Mexico to be named “Spaceport America.”Stars such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Ashton Kutcher had been among those reportedly planning to take Virgin Galactic’s first wave of flights.John Logsdon, former director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University, said the crash would have a sobering effect.“This will inject a note of sobriety into the enthusiasm of those who would like the spaceflight experience,” Logsdon said.“There was a whole juggernaut of ground training and private spaceports that were being set up to support an emerging space tourism industry, with a collective burst of maybe unrealistic expectations.“This will certainly throw cold water on that.”Original story continues here:LOS ANGELES, California – Virgin Galactic’s pioneering spacecraft designed to take tourists into space crashed Friday in California, killing one of the two pilots and scattering debris across the desert.Television images showed the wreckage of SpaceShipTwo, a test vehicle that flies to the edge of space, amid brush east of Mojave, a few hours’ drive northeast of Los Angeles.The incident is second disaster involving a U.S. spacecraft this week, after an unmanned Orbital Science rocket carrying supplies to the International Space Station exploded after launch on Tuesday.It is also a huge blow to British tycoon Richard Branson’s long-held dream of offering the first passenger space flights, which have been snapped up by celebrities including Leonardo DiCaprio.The Virgin chief said he was heading straight to the site.“Thoughts with all @virgingalactic … I’m flying to Mojave immediately to be with the team,” he wrote on Twitter. It was not clear where the globe-trotting tycoon was at the time of the crash.“During the test, the vehicle suffered a serious anomaly resulting in the loss of SpaceShipTwo. Our first concern is the status of the pilots,” the firm said in a tweet. Related posts:US Sen. Bill Nelson: Costa Rica has a place in the future of space flight Costa Rica’s Franklin Chang pushes space agenda in Washington NASA discovers Earth-like planet orbiting ‘cousin’ of Sun First bite of space-grown lettuce is ‘awesome’last_img read more

Police evict squatters from US investors property in Esterillos Oeste

first_imgRelated posts:Accused serial killer ‘Wild Bill’ Holbert asks forgiveness for murders of U.S. expats Salvadoran man deported from United States suspected in murder at San José hotel Foreigner caught stealing hours after being detained for threatening neighbors with machete Woman records video of man reaching down her shirt on bus; receives no help from driver Officials from various public agencies have evicted a group of squatters who occupied a private property for over a year and a half in Esterillos Oeste, a coastal area in the central Pacific canton of Parrita.Parrita Mayor Freddy Garro Arias told The Tico Times that officers from the National Police and Judicial Police conducted the eviction of some 30 families Thursday. Officials from the Child Welfare Office, the National Animal Health Service and the municipality helped move the families.Garro said the eviction request was received last year from the legal representatives in Costa Rica of David Aven, a U.S. citizen who acquired the property to develop a beach community project known as Las Olas.The mayor said that after meeting with a group of the squatters he concluded that they are not residents of Parrita. “Most of them come from other areas like Jacó and Herradura, and there are also Colombian and Haitian migrants,” he said.Business opportunityMunicipal staff demolished a total of 17 shanties, some of which were empty. Garro said they know that some of the squatters don’t actually live on the site.The Public Security Ministry’s press office confirmed that several of the shacks were empty and that none of them had drinking water or electricity.“We’ve witnessed some of these people arriving in cars, some of them expensive cars, just to spend the weekend or clean their part of the land, so we concluded that not all of them are here because they need a place to live,” the mayor said.Garro also said some of the squatters told municipal officials that more people were planning to occupy the property in coming weeks, but mostly looking to get possession rights in order to be able to sell the land later. “It’s a very attractive land located just two or three minutes from the beach,” he noted.He added that National Police officers told them that some of the evicted people also had occupied a public property in Parrita last year. “We believe they moved here after they were evicted from Parrita in February 2015,” he said.Garro said there was not any kind of construction activity taking place on the property at the time the squatters entered the lands.He said the owner is currently amid an arbitration claim against Costa Rica after his project was shut down in 2011. “Allegedly the land, or part of it, is within a protected wetland,” he said.The project, according to its website, would include a hotel, a beach club, a complex of villas, recreational areas and shops.Recommended: Esterillos Oeste: Squatter invasion, sex assaults and robbery on Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Police release Zimbabwe pole dancers

first_imgPolice detained the women after complaints that their routines exceeded the country’s deeply conservative attitudes towards public obscenity.The promoter says the dancers do not strip naked and that police found no case against them. He says weekend shows will be held for the dancers’ night club audiences.The dancers say they introduced “gymnastic-style, exotic” pole dancing in Zimbabwe for the first time two years ago.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Top Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   center_img Parents, stop beating yourself up Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) – A Zimbabwe entertainment promoter says police have released two popular dancers without charge after questioning them under the nation’s strict indecency laws.Happers Mapimhidze said Friday the women, both in their 20s and known for routines that triggered a pole dancing craze across Zimbabwe, held performance licenses and their scant costumes were approved by the state Board of Censors. Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Daylast_img read more

Kerry off to Vienna for Iran nuke talks as deadline looms

first_imgWASHINGTON (AP) — With next week’s deadline for an Iran nuclear deal fast approaching, Secretary of State John Kerry headed back to the talks in Vienna, Austria, on Friday, this time leaning on crutches.On his first overseas trip since breaking his leg earlier this month, Kerry left Washington amid mounting debate over the wisdom of an agreement with Iran. Critics of the emerging deal accuse the Obama administration and its partners of conceding too much in the talks. U.S. officials insist their positions remain unchanged and that Iran must agree to their demands by Tuesday’s deadline. Top Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Sponsored Stories Kerry used a mechanical lift to board his plane and walked through the converted Air Force 757 on crutches. He traveled with a State Department physician, as is customary, but this time also was accompanied by a physical therapist, officials said.Kerry said Thursday he is “always hopeful” but would not say he is optimistic about getting a deal. Other officials have suggested the deadline may slip in the same manner that a March 30 deadline for a framework accord was extended two days.A senior U.S. official, meanwhile, said an end was in sight that could lead to an agreement. The official said the U.S. believed that technical solutions exist to resolve every issue that remains on the table, but those solutions would require “very critical choices” by Iran’s leadership. The official was not authorized to discuss the negotiations by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.Kerry’s meetings in Vienna will begin on Saturday. In addition to talks with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, he is also expected to see French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. Foreign ministers from the four other nations at the negotiating table — Russia, China, Britain and Germany — are also expected to join in as they try to bridge differences between the sides on the limits Tehran must accept on its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Comments   Share   Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Mesa family survives lightning strike to home But with Iran apparently backtracking on key points, the talks could go past the target date. In a speech on Tuesday, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rejected a long-term freeze on nuclear research and insisted that Iran will only sign a deal if international sanctions are lifted first.He also repeated that military sites and Iranian nuclear scientists will be off-limits to U.N. experts, who would monitor Iranian compliance to any deal while trying to kick-start a moribund probe of suspicions that Tehran worked on atomic arms — allegations that Iran denies.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist 4 sleep positions for men and what they meanlast_img read more

From Syria to Phoenix Syrian family shares harrowing story about coming to

first_img Mesa family survives lightning strike to home They were shocked when soldiers searched the family, including the children, and its home for weapons while armed government loyalists were left alone.“When the army would come my kids would be frightened, and I would tell them to calm down, cool off, it’s going to be all right,” Alsorani said. “But it’s difficult because you see weapons, you see everything coming in through your house.”The violence and war was a great stress on the children, Albitar said. There would be days when they weren’t able to eat, because of the stress. She hoped to give them toys so they could play and forget about the bad living conditions.Eventually, Albitar would not let her children go to school or leave home because of the dangers.“There was a lot of kidnappings, there was a lot of rapes, so I was really afraid for them. Even me, I would not go out,” she said.After three months of constant searches, the family decided to leave Syria. First, they took a taxi from Homs to Damascus, and then another cab from there to a small village near Syria’s border with Jordan.Once they were at the border, the Free Syrian Army, an opposition group that has defected from the Syrian regime, escorted them across the border into Jordan. The family came under fire during their journey, and were forced to wait on the ground until it had stopped. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Since the attacks on Paris, Syrian refugees have been under extra scrutiny. Several governors, including Gov. Doug Ducey, have called for a halt to resettling Syrian refugees in their states. As of Nov. 17, there are more than 4.2 million registered Syrian refugees, according to the UNHCR, the UN refugee agency.The Syrian Civil War has gone on since unrest began in early 2011. Opposition groups have risen up against the regime controlled by Bashar al-Assad. Multiple opposition groups have been fighting for control of the country, leaving much of it to waste.The Alsorani family lived in Homs, a city in western Syrian. Alsorani said the, “people would go out to protest, and the government would retaliate with bullets.”The protests were against the mayor and local government, they were peaceful, during the first days, and the people did not have guns, Alsorani said.After some time, there was shelling from heavy artillery, and many people would die to be left in the streets, Alsorani said.“You could not pick them up,” he said.He and his wife, Rana Albitar, have five daughters and one young son aged 5 to 16. Eventually they had to leave their home and moved to a safer area in Homs where people loyal to al-Assad lived. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall PHOENIX — Bombs would explode in the street, spraying shattered glass at anyone nearby. They lost their home in a fire. And they were being subjected to constant searches and oppression by armed soldiers.So Abdulrafae Alsorani and his family fled Syria leaving everything behind.“It became very difficult to live there, difficult to get food and bread for the children,” he said, through a translator.Alsorani, his wife Rana Albitar and their six children took refuge in Jordan before coming to the United States and Phoenix in search of peace and prosperity away from the horrors of war. They have been in the United States for just two months and have not learned English. Top Stories Parents, stop beating yourself up The Alsorani family waited for more than a year in a Jordanian refugee camp. They first went to the United Nations to seek asylum, and when they were called they went through rigorous interviews with the United States’ Department of Homeland Security.During the interviews they were asked every little detail about their lives by United States officers, before they were granted access to the United States.Here in Phoenix, the children are finally able to play and go to school as the family settles into its new home.Rania, their oldest daughter, is very happy to be in the United States. Here she can finally study hard in school and have a hopeful future.“My friends are better here than Jordan, everything is better here than in Jordan or Syria,” she said.The family received help from Arizona Muslim Community, a nonprofit, to help them resettle. Alsorani was an electrician when he was in Syria, and once he learns english he hopes to find work.Alsorani wishes everyone could see the horrible conditions in the refugee camps before deciding they don’t want Syrians to resettle in the United States.“I wish the American government and people would change their mind, and bring the Syrian people from Jordan, because they are really living in a tragedy, a misery,” he said. Abdulrafae Alsorani, left, and his wife Rana Albital have been in their two home in Phoenix for two months, glad to be away from the horrors in Syria. (Photo: Lauren Michaels/Cronkite News) Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img read more

Grace Hotel launches customisable 10rooms

first_imgThe Grace Hotel Sydney officially launched its 10Rooms experience on Tuesday evening, with a tour of the concept rooms for media and hospitality agents. Host of ABC’s Collectors show, Claudia Chan Shaw, welcomed the guests gathered in The Grace Hotel’s Bar 77. “We at Collectors get excited by the Grace’s high internal ceilings, its original lifts and stairwells, marble floors and decorative framework,” Ms Shaw said after telling briefly of the hotel’s history. “We love the contemporary, new style of rooms which still manages to capture the essence of the 1930s Art Deco,” Ms Shaw said. The unique concept of the 10rooms is the customisability of the rooms themselves. Travellers who are “tired of the same repetitive interiors and generic layouts that scream ‘hotel’” can tailor their rooms to make their experience more memorable, a hotel release said. Guests at the 10rooms can select their own décor and style “from the sofa to the soap.” “10Rooms is unlike any other hotel concept. Each room is customised to suit the taste of the individual. 10Rooms is a personal experience especially for you,” general manager of The Grace Hotel, Philip Pratley said. “The furniture changes with the guest’s preferences. This concept of flexibility has been imported from our hotel in Kuala Lumpur, The Federal,” he said.Following the official welcome, media and function guests were invited on a tour of the 10rooms concept rooms, led by The Grace Hotel’s business development managers Christian Lackner and Joseph Selvan. The evening concluded with the launch of the 10rooms website, and a prize giveaway for attendees.The landmark Grace Building was built by the Grace Bros. retail empire and remains one of Sydney’s most prominent examples of pre-war architecture. ABC’s Collectors’ Claudia Chan Shaw and The Grace Hotel’s general manager, Philip Pratley Room 5 bed Room 3 loungecenter_img Room 6 corridor Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.Clast_img read more

More engine woes for Qantas

first_imgAustralia’s iconic airline is in trouble again after an engine fault was discovered on one of its superjumbo jets at a factory in France. A faulty oil tube is said to be the cause of the problem Qantas is facing in regards to the new Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engine. The engine fault has caused delays in the transfer of aircraft ownership, as Qantas awaits the delivery of another A380 this month. Qantas’ fleet manager is reluctant the aircraft will be operational anytime soon. “We will be lucky to see it in service by Christmas. “One step forward and two back! We can’t take a trick in getting more aircraft into the air and back into service,” he said in an email to pilots earlier this week.Rolls-Royce is also under the hammer as lawyers from the engine manufacturing company failed to appear in Federal Court this week to hear Qantas’ compensation claims. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.Tlast_img read more

New Zealand business tourism rising

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: S.P The most recent statistics show an increase in New Zealand’s popularity as a destination for conference and incentive groups from the Australian market.The figures show a 38 percent increase for 2011 in Australian travellers compared to that of the previous year.Further to this, February 2011 has seen a 55 percent increase alone, in Australian delegates visiting for conferences and incentives when compared to February 2010.“Our business tourism industry is performing very strongly at the moment and that’s reflected in these figures,” said Conventions and Incentives New Zealand chief executive Alan Trotter.New Zealand’s close proximity to Australia and the current strength of the Australian dollar means Australians can get “much more bang for their buck,” Mr Trotter said.The annual business tourism expo meeting will be held in Rotorua next month, to promote the industry’s services and facilities to overseas conference organisers.last_img read more

Gold Coast to Host Australian Tourism Exchange in 2016

first_imgTourism Australia has announced that Queensland’s Gold Coast will play host to the country’s largest annual tourism trade show – the Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) – in 2016.The announcement was made by Tourism Australia’s Managing Director John O’Sullivan whilst speaking on Wednesday (April 29) at an industry briefing on the Gold Coast hosted by Tourism and Events Queensland.The economic benefits of hosting the Australian Tourism Exchange are significant and the Gold Coast economy can expect an immediate $10 million uplift during the five days of the event.Mr O’Sullivan said it was great to see Australia’s premier trade event for attracting international tourism business returning to one of Australia’s key regional tourism destinations after the overwhelming success of the ATE14 event in Cairns.“The Gold Coast has undergone something of a renaissance in recent years, with sizeable investments in tourism infrastructure and international aviation access giving the region a renewed sense of confidence ahead of hosting of the Commonwealth Games in 2018,” Mr O’Sullivan said.“With its iconic beaches, stunning hinterland and fun theme parks, the Gold Coast will provide a spectacular setting for Australia’s tourism industry to showcase their products directly to tourism wholesalers and retailers from around the world.“The timing of an ATE event on the Gold Coast is particularly appropriate, with 2016 seeing much more emphasis being placed by Tourism Australia upon the international marketing of the country’s aquatic and coastal tourism experiences,” he said.Queensland Minister for Tourism and Major Events Kate Jones said the Gold Coast was primed and ready to host ATE16 for the first time.“The Australian Tourism Exchange is the largest tourism trade show on the industry’s calendar and will connect Queensland tourism businesses directly with 600 international travel buyers who sell Australian holidays in more than 30 countries,” Minister Jones said.“I welcome the boost this event will provide to Queensland tourism because it means more visitors and more jobs for Queenslanders for years to come.“On the Gold Coast visitors will discover perfect beaches, hinterland escapes, theme park thrills, and incredible dining and shopping experiences.“Delegates will also have the opportunity to explore other Queensland destinations spreading the benefits of the Australian Tourism Exchange around the state.”CEO of Gold Coast Tourism, Martin Winter said, ATE unquestionably represents the single largest opportunity in 2016 for the city and our tourism industry to showcase itself to key influencers of the global travel industry.“Gold Coast Tourism is delighted to partner with Tourism Australia and Tourism and Events Queensland to ensure these international travel buyers, media and our Australian tourism colleagues fully experience the fun, excitement and warm hospitality that the Gold Coast is famous for.”Further details, including the dates for the 2016 Australian Tourism Exchange, will be announced in the coming months.Source = Tourism Australialast_img read more

Andrew Chan named Entrepreneur of the Year

first_img ACI HR Solutionsfind travel jobs hereSource = Mike Parker-Brown, ACI HR PR Director ACI – HR Kathy Fatseas – Andrew Chan May 2016 – Recruitment International AwardAndrew Chan named Entrepreneur of the YearCapping off an amazing 10 month period for ACI HR Solutions, CEO & Founder, Andrew Chan has been named ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ at the Recruitment International – Australia 2016 Awards.This latest accolade follow hot on the heels of the company’s success last month in Singapore when it picked up three trophies at the Human Resources Asia Recruitment Awards 2016.This included a gold in the prestigious ‘Best Recruitment Innovation by a Recruitment Agency’ category in recognition of ACI’s ‘Get Da Job’ mobile device app designed to help candidates prepare for the job interview process.In August last year, ACI was named ‘Best Newcomer’ at the 2015 Recruitment International – Asia 2015’ awards.Mr Chan said it was “truly an honour” to be recognised by HR industry peers and “validates” the hard work and passion the entire ACI team has put in since the company launched in 2012.“But we’re not resting on our laurels,” Mr Chan said.“Continuous improvement is a journey and plans are already in place for new technology, development and expansion for ACI going forward.“More importantly though, we are proud to be representing the travel and hospitality sector and hopefully our recent success will play a role in some way in drawing attention from talents in other industries across to ours.”last_img read more

Oaks Hotels Resorts set to debut in Hervey Bay

first_imgOaks Resort & Spa Hervey BayOaks Hotels & Resorts set to debut in Hervey BayLeading accommodation provider Oaks Hotels & Resorts, a division of Minor Hotels, has set its sights on Queensland’s Fraser Coast, today announcing its imminent entry to the seaside town of Hervey Bay.Currently operating as Oceans Resort & Spa Hervey Bay, the property is set to rebrand on 1st August 2018 to Oaks Resort & Spa Hervey Bay under a new agreement, which will see Oaks Hotels & Resorts acquire the hotel management rights.Just over three hours north of Brisbane and celebrated as Australia’s ‘whale watching capital’, Hervey Bay is renowned for its enviable laid-back lifestyle and attracts visitors to its sheltered shores year round, particularly during the annual humpback whale migration from June to November.A water-lovers’ playground, the coastal hamlet offers visitors the chance to immerse themselves in a myriad of marine adventures – from fishing to paddle boarding, swimming, diving, snorkelling and jet skiing – and of course, whale and dolphin spotting.Its position on the Fraser Coast also makes Hervey Bay the perfect launch pad for travellers wanting to visit the World Heritage-listed Fraser Island – the world’s largest sand island, while the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef is also easily accessible, with day trips running regularly from the Bay to Lady Elliott Island.Positioned in the heart of Hervey Bay in Urangan, the soon-to-be Oaks Resort & Spa Hervey Bay provides an idyllic base for Queensland holidaymakers; featuring uninterrupted views over the protected Bay and an abundance of attractions on its doorstep.Guests will have the choice of one, two and three bedroom suites, plus split level three bedroom penthouses, a selection of which feature an absolute beachfront position and expansive rooftop entertaining decks to soak up the spectacular water views.Each suite offers the luxury of space, as well as the convenience of self-contained facilities, such as fully equipped kitchens and separate laundries, open-plan living and dining areas, and private balconies overlooking the Resort facilities and ocean.Spread over six levels, the 130-room property wraps around two central lagoon pools and a timber leisure deck, complete with a children’s play zone, shaded bure-style huts and communal barbequing facilities.When it comes to keeping fit, guests can choose to workout in the onsite gymnasium, or take advantage of the 19 kilometre-walking and riding track that fringes the Esplanade, offering a bevy of natural spectacles, cafes and restaurants, and boutiques to stop off at along the way.Home to three versatile function spaces, the Resort also caters to weddings, conferences and events, while those looking to combine their stay with a touch of R&R will relish the onsite day spa, featuring six treatment rooms and an indulgent service menu.Chief Operating Officer of Minor Hotels (Australia and New Zealand), Mr Craig Hooley, said the company was delighted to add the Resort to its growing portfolio.“We are thrilled to welcome Oaks Resort & Spa Hervey Bay to our property network. We already have such a strong Queensland presence, with 25 hotels and resorts across the state, and the addition of this property will further reinforce our position in market, while also giving us the opportunity to debut our brand in a new destination,” he said.About Oaks Hotels & ResortsOaks Hotels & Resorts is one of Australia’s largest self-contained, accommodation providers, currently incorporating a portfolio of 56 properties spanning Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, the Northern Territory, South and Western Australia as well as New Zealand, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and India.Providing the luxury of space, Oaks Hotels & Resorts offers a range of contemporary accommodation, from hotel and resort rooms and suites, to furnished serviced apartments, in central city locations and resort destinations. Source = Oaks Hotels & Resortslast_img read more

Hong Kong Tourism Board successfully concludes its India travel mission

first_imgThe Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) has successfully concluded its India travel mission from August 17 to August 21, 2015 in India. The mission witnessed the participation of more than 40 delegates representing Hong Kong’s top land operators, hoteliers, and popular family attractions like Ocean Park Corporation, sky100 Hong Kong Observation Deck, Ngong Ping 360 Limited and PMQ Management Co Ltd.The delegation visited Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata and New Delhi and met with over 800 trade representing more than 600 companies across these cities.The mission also included exclusive MICE and Cruise sessions, highlighting the diverse venues in Hong Kong for meetings and incentive groups. Besides HKTB, the Royal Caribbean International and Star Cruises were co-presenters for these sessions. Harbour City sponsored the luncheons in all the cities during the session to help broaden the dynamic of shopping experience in HK.Leveraging the 14-day visa free facility for Indian passport holders, the number of visitor arrivals to Hong Kong has reached 276,387 in the first six months for this year showing a significant increase of 6.2% over the same period last year.The Indian trade buyers were also encouraged to register at PartnerNet (PartnerNet.hktb.com/in); a B2B interactive platform dedicated to tourism trade partners, to avail exclusive benefits by joining as a Trade Partner member.last_img read more

MTDC to take forward the Hunar Se Rozgar Tak scheme

first_imgMaharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) will now be a facilitator for ‘Hunar Se Rozgar Tak’ scheme, launched by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.MTDC has tied up with identified hospitality institutions with an aim to provide economic empowerment of the youth in the remote areas of the state. To be run free of cost, the programmes will ensure economic benefit through employment generation and reduce the skill gap that affects the hospitality sector.The scheme targets at generating self-employment opportunities for students who are at least eighth pass and belong to the age group of 18-28. MTDC has carried out various hospitality courses comprising six to eight weeks which include ‘Food Production’, ‘Food and Beverages’, ‘Bakery and Patisseri’ and ‘Housekeeping utility’.Valsa Nair Singh, Principal Secretary, Cultural & Tourism Affairs, Government of Maharashtra, said, “The MoT has announced a very important and effective initiative under the ‘Hunar Se Rozgar’ scheme. With MTDC being selected as a key facilitator, we have taken up an important responsibility on our shoulders to bring a positive change for these students who belong to an underprivileged background. Hunar Se Rozgar Tak is a double benefit programme as it improves the standard of living of these students as well as provides a sound resource to serve in the hospitality sector.”Employees of Infosys, Hinjewadi, on the other hand, have been provided tourism facilities under the banner of MTDC. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis recently inaugurated India’s first-of-its-kind project- MTDC’s Infosys Tourism Pavilion, whereby a tourism pavilion in the Infosys campus Phase II Food court 3 will be offering tourism related services to the employees on a concessional basis.last_img read more

Mumbai ranks among the worlds top trending destinations for 2017

first_imgThe financial and entertainment capital of India, Mumbai, may be set to see an increase in domestic and international tourist footfalls as a new research from Booking.com finds the city ranking among the world’s top trending destinations for 2017.The data experts at Booking.com examined the top 300 destinations based on growth in search and bookings to find the most up-and-coming places to visit in 2017. When analysed against wider trends, Mumbai recorded an increase in the volume of travel and higher than average growth in bookings, while moving up ten places among the most searched destinations compared to last year.The other top trending destinations recorded are Reykjavik in Iceland, Cairns in Australia, Savannah in U.S., Puerto Rico, Kyoto and Jericoacoara in Brazil.“Experiencing the unknown, encountering different people and cultures, and testing new limits has always been at the core of what drives us to travel and 2017 is certainly shaping up to be an exciting year,” said Pepijn Rijvers, Chief Marketing Officer at Booking.com. “2017 travellers will have an insatiable appetite for adventure but are also mindful of the impact those experiences can have on the local culture and issues surrounding sustainability. While we crave highly personalised human interaction and familiar comforts, we’re also expecting emerging technologies to enhance our experiences and get us closer to the things we care about faster and more intelligently.”last_img read more

Uttarakhand to develop a new tourist destination in each district

first_imgThe state government of Uttarakhand has decided to develop one new tourism destination in each of the 13 districts. Alongside, the locals would be roped in to provide support to environmental and tourist activities.Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat has laid thrust on providing tourism based jobs to youths residing in the hills. Simultaneously, the tourism department will also lay thrust on the promotion of homestay in the state, with the booking of homestay to be included in the packages of GMVN and KMVN.The Chief Minister in a review meeting of the tourism department, was told that the work for the construction of a ropeway to Kedarnath is currently underway. While the survey and mapping work was also underway for the development of nine villages near Kedarnath.The priority list of the tourism department included the ropeways on the Yamunotri-Kharsali and Dehradun-Mussoorie route.last_img read more