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  • Tourism infrastructure or lose out on jobs and economic contribution for the country

    Weaknesses in the current state of Travel & Tourism infrastructure in the U.S. pose a threat to Travel & Tourism growth in the country and could cost the U.S. in terms of jobs and a reduced contribution to the economy. That is according to Mr. David Scowsill, President & CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the member organisation for the global Travel & Tourism sector. A new WTTC report out today says the poor quality of U.S. ground transport infrastructure could see the country fail to meet its demand growth predictions, lose ground to other advanced economies and miss out on social and economic benefits from Travel & Tourism.

    WTTC’s report, “Travel & Tourism investment in the Americas: will the region’s infrastructure and investment constrain or support future industry growth?” states that U.S. Travel & Tourism infrastructure is of a comparatively high quality and capacity overall. However, its ground infrastructure is weak. Given the outlook for Travel & Tourism investment and demand over the next decade, Mr Scowsill says it raises cause for concern; “The United States does not rank favourably for ‘tourism supporting’ infrastructure, to transport tourists domestically and internationally. This is compared to other advanced economies within Asia and continental Europe. Roads, especially in the major cities, are heavily congested. Rail networks are slow, compared to their high speed equivalents in other countries. Flight delays and cancellations are common, with inadequate air traffic control infrastructure. No domestic or international tourist wants to spend time in road traffic jams or in lines at airports. Major improvements are needed”.

    The forecast annual average growth of Travel & Tourism investment over the next decade for North America is 4.4%. The sector is expected to grow by 3.6% per annum. Against this backdrop of strong demand growth prospects and an increasingly competitive marketplace, the report states that the U.S. is at risk of complacency. Mr Scowsill says it is essential for the U.S. to make significant investment for the ongoing development and growth of its Travel & Tourism sector; “WTTC fully supports the Build America Investment transportation initiative announced this summer by President Obama. It is certainly promising to see the recognition for infrastructure improvement and the funding being put behind the initiative. However, the Government must ensure it delivers the right level of investment to effect change. Most importantly, industry and government need to work in partnership to see through these critical improvements. This includes the need for the air traffic control system to be upgraded to the NextGen programme, which is so desperately required to keep competitive and to improve airline performance for climate change needs”.

    Mr Scowsill says the market is ripe for investment; “The economy is now stable. The tourism-supporting infrastructure is recognised as weak, which means there is an unequivocal case for major upgrade work. There is a real opportunity for private investors to seize and to work with the U.S. Government to ensure these improvements are realised”.

    WTTC’s report out today outlines that investment is essential for a number of reasons; to ensure current infrastructure is maintained to a good standard; to adapt and upgrade current infrastructure and to expand capacity to prevent supply-side bottlenecks.

    The U.S. is the biggest tourism economy in the world. According to WTTC’s 2014 U.S. Economic Impact Report, the total contribution of Travel & Tourism to GDP was 8.4% (US$1,416.0bn) and visitor exports generated 8.4% of total exports (US$190.1bn) in 2013, (including direct, indirect, and induced). Travel is the second-largest U.S. export by industry and accounts for almost a third (31.2 percent) of U.S. service exports and almost a tenth (9.4 percent) of exports of all goods and services, according to the U.S. Travel Association.

    Mr Scowsill believes the U.S. has to do the following to maintain and grow its market share of visitors and appeal to an ever-growing and diverse group of travellers; “The U.S. needs to ensure that travel is as seamless and hassle-free as possible. Bottlenecks need to be removed in air and in road and rail networks, especially in areas with high population density. It’s essential that ground transportation connects directly to airports and urban centres and that there is more point to point connectivity. A NextGen air traffic control system would enable airlines to fly more efficient routes and would cut down on flight delays, cancellations, aircraft noise and emissions. Only if the U.S. makes a step change in the level of investment will it achieve the projected levels of demand growth over the next decade and maintain its current industry competitiveness ranking. If it does not make the investment, there will be fewer travellers which will cost the U.S. heavily in terms of economic contribution and jobs”.

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  • The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced progress in the implementation of Fast Travel in the Asia-Pacific region. Qantas Airways has achieved Platinum status for Fast Travel implementation, while Narita International Airport Corporation has engaged IATA to conduct a study on the implementation of Fast Travel at Tokyo’s Narita Airport.

    The Fast Travel program responds to passenger demand for a more seamless travel experience and more control through six time-saving, self-service initiatives. They includes Self check-in and/or automatic check-in, Bags ready-to-go, Document check, Flight re-booking, Self-boarding and Bag recovery.

    In IATA’s 2014 Global Passenger Survey, over 75% of air travelers would prefer to check in online or automatically by receiving a text message or email. Only15% prefer to receive their boarding passes from an agent at an airport check-in counter. The industry’s target is to implement Fast Travel projects covering 27% of eligible passengers this year and by 2020, the goal is to have 80% of passengers offered a complete self-service suite based on common industry standards.

    First Asia-Pacific Platinum Airline

    IATA has awarded Qantas Platinum status in recognition of the airline’s progress in implementing the Fast Travel program. The award was presented by Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO, during the World Passenger Symposium held in San Diego.

    Qantas is the first airline in Asia-Pacific and the second in the world to achieve Platinum status. The Platinum status is achieved when Fast Travel compliant solutions are made available to at least 80% of an airline’s passengers.

    “I congratulate Qantas on this achievement. Travelers have told us through the annual IATA Global Passenger Survey that they want to be able to do more things for themselves.  Qantas is leading the Asia-Pacific region in responding to this self-service expectation. I encourage the Asia-Pacific airlines to fast track the implementation of Fast Travel across their network so as to provide their customers with more options to improve their passenger experience,” said Conrad Clifford, Regional Vice President, Asia-Pacific.

    Qantas Domestic Executive Manager, Customer Experience, Paul Jones said that the achievement of Platinum Status reflected Qantas’ commitment to a streamlined customer experience.

    “Travellers today rightly expect a seamless journey through the airport, and we’ve invested in technology and training to deliver that.   From smart check-in facilities across airports in Australia to online and mobile check-in, auto bag drops, and mobile boarding passes at the gate, our goal is to make the process as fast and efficient as possible,” said Jones. 

    “Customer service innovation is central to Qantas’ strategy and we’re committed to playing a lead role in the development of Fast Travel across the industry.”

    First Fast Travel Consulting Project

    IATA has been engaged by the Narita International Airport Corporation (NAA), which manages Tokyo’s Narita Airport, to conduct a study on challenges and opportunities for the implementation of Fast Travel initiatives for international travelers at Narita Airport. NAA is the launch customer for this service by IATA Consulting.

    Through the study, IATA will provide recommendations on how the various Fast Travel initiatives can be implemented and integrated with the existing systems at Narita Airport.

    “Japan has been at the forefront of many of the advances in the passenger experience including domestic air travel. Thus, we are delighted to partner with NAA to take this forward for international travel at Narita Airport. The airlines are eager and ready to offer a more convenient and faster experience to their passengers through the use of technology solutions. This project will help bring the airlines and airports together in delivering a better travel experience at Narita Airport,” said Clifford.

    “Given the expected traffic growth in the Asia-Pacific region, major Asian airports are under pressure to handle the anticipated traffic growth. Partnership between airlines and airports will be crucial to address this challenge.  IATA’s Fast Travel initiatives will bring more efficiency for airline operations, and improve the customer experience. From an airport perspective, we can make more efficient use of the airport’s facilities and improve the airport experience for travelers. Reducing the waiting time at the various queues also means that travelers can have more time to use the airport’s facilities and for shopping. We are happy to work with IATA to identify how Fast Travel can bring more efficiency and convenience, and on its implementation at Narita Airport,” said Hideharu Miyamoto, Vice President Corporate Strategies & Planning, NAA.

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Kerala Tourism announced Winners of Clint Memorial International Painting Competition

Children from Bulgaria and Bangladesh among top five Children from Bulgaria and Bangladesh are among the top five winners of an international painting competition conducted by Kerala Tourism in memory of the child prodigy Edmund Thomas Clint. Anujath Sindhu Vinaylal from Thrissur in Kerala won the first prize in the competition and Irtiza Anika Haqe Probonti of Bangladesh came second. The third prize was shared between Viara Pencheva of Bulgaria, Meenakshi Nair J from Kottayam, Kerala ...

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Air Transport and Tourism to Grow Together

The 2013 UNWTO and WTM Ministers´ Summit at the World Travel Market (WTM) will put a spotlight on the essential connection between air transport and tourism, debating the challenges and opportunities of promoting higher policy coordination between aviation and tourism.

Air transport, being an important factor in outbound or inbound tourism, plays a vital role in foreign tourist arrival in India. Therefore, the discussions on the matter must be considered as important for the tourism industry in the country. New alliances with tourism boards and airlines all around the world is needed  to boost the business. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on all partners and stakeholders involved in passenger travel to work together to deliver greater value to passengers. This is a remarkable decision that will encourage travellers all around the world to visit foreign countries.

Air travel is one of the major part, travellers worried about in their journey. Addressing their issues is the most important thing for the sector to grow their business. According to IATA Director General and CEO, Mr. Tony Tyler, Aviation makes possible $2.2 trillion worth of economic activity and supports about 57 million jobs around the globe. Every day more than 8 million passengers take advantage of the safety, speed and convenience of air travel. Therefore, any new strategy implemented will work as a catalyst that makes big changes.

The alliances by airlines also play a major part in air transport. The recent joining of Qatar Airways in “Oneworld” shows a positive approach by major airlines that hold major part of the market share. These alliances give the consumer better offers, which encourage them to travel frequently. The initiatives by WTM and IATA are expected to give new possibilities for air transport and tourism to grow together. Let's hope for a better connected world that encourages people to travel and make the tourism industry to grow to a new level.

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TOURISM EDUCATION

TAAI to offer Degree Course in Tourism & Hospitality Management

TAAI signs MOU with H R COLLEGE to offer Degree Course in Tourism & Hospitality ManagementTravel Agents Association of India (TAAI) has signed a MOU with HR College of Commerce & Economics in Mumbai introducing a degree course, Bachelor of Vocation (B. VOC) in Tourism & Hospitality Management.In one of the first in the country, Mumbai University has approved a 3 year degree course (12+3)  which shall be conducted by HR College.The MOU was signed ...
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TRAVEL ONLINE

RezNext announces partnership with Cleartrip

RezNext announces partnership with Cleartrip; one of India’s leading online travel portal RezNext’s real-time two way hotel booking technology powers Cleartrip in India, UAE, Srilanka and Africa RezNext, the world’s leading real-time distribution company and Cleartrip, a leading online travel portal, have partnered to provide Cleartrip’s customers a real-time hotel booking service. RezNext’s distribution technology connects ...
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ART & CULTURE

‘Indian Art, Culture & Heritage Fiesta’ To be showcased at Hong Kong Harbin Ice Festival

Celebrating 2014 as the ‘Year of Friendship and Exchange’ with China, India is all set to showcase its art and culture in Hong Kong, at one of the world’s largest festival of its kind, the Hong Kong Harbin Ice Festival.  Organised by Fictional Reality Communications, Hong Kong, a ten day fair titled ‘Indian Art, Culture & Heritage Fiesta’ will be organized from 1st - 10th November 2014 with an aim to bring Indian cultural ...
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HOTELS PROMOTIONS

THE LEELA UNVEILS LIMITED EDITION DIWALI GIFT HAMPERS

Celebrate in style with bespoke creations by AMALYA   Celebrate this festive season with a limited edition of especially curated gift hampers by AMALYA, lifestyle boutique of The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts, India’s leading luxury hotel group. Ranging from the traditional to the extravagantly indulgent, and with price points to satisfy a variety of budgets, the thoughtfully designed gift hampers are part of an exclusive ...
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ENTERTAINMENT

Wanderlust Film Festival Jaisalmer will be screened best of Travel Films

Wanderlust Film Festival announces the list of films to be screened at the festival List includes travel films from all across the world Wanderlust Film Festival is a unique travelling film festival, which is scheduled to take place from 31st October to 2nd November in Jaisalmer (Rajasthan). It is a one-of-its-kind film festival, which focuses on cinema that depicts travel. On 31st September, the Wanderlust Film Festival Director Aditi ...
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TRAVEL EVENTS

India to host SITE Global Conference 2015

The SITE Global Conference, the association’s largest annual event will be held in India next year for the first time ever. This will take place in New Delhi from October 21-25 , 2015 and will give a big boost for the MICE industry in India. SITE (Society for Incentive Travel Excellence) is a global network of professionals in the motivational travel industry (commonly referred to as Incentive Travel). Each year, a chapter from among the 2 ...
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CRUISES

Royal Caribbean announces offers on Cruises from Singapore

Royal Caribbean International announces special offers , complimentary Upgrades & 50% off on 2nd guest, exclusively for Indian travellers onboard the largest cruise ship sailing from Singapore, Mariner of the Seas. Both these offers are valid on 3 to 5 night sailings from Singapore, between November 2013  and  February 2014 and will be applicable on new bookings made by 31st October 2013. With Complimentary Upgrades, guests ca ...
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TRANSPORTATION

Meru Cab Expands its Presence into Ahmedabad

Meru Cab, India’s largest and favorite radio taxi service, announces the launch of operations in India’s fastest developing and growing city Ahmedabad. Neha Dhupia, Bollywood star and icon graces the launch with her presence along with the Meru Cabs, MD and Founder Mr. Neeraj Gupta and CEO, Mr. Siddhartha Pahwa. The world-class metered radio cab service is completely technology and systems driven and will cater to the needs of commuters in Ah ...
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Appointment

Mr. Mohammad Al Hashimi, New VP-Commercial Product of Emirates

Emirates Announces New Vice President Appointment to Support Dubai Expo 2020 Vision and Beyond

Emirates Airlines has announced the appointment of a new role within the Commercial division. Reporting directly to Emirates Executive Vice President & Chief Commercial Officer, Mr. Thierry Antinori, the newly created Vice President Commercial Product position will be fulfilled by Mr. Mohammad Al Hashimi, who has worked with Emirates since 2006.

Mr Antinori said this of the decision; “As Emirates, and Dubai, prepares for the World Expo 2020 and the economic and commercial impact it will have on the future of travel, it is important to have a strong team in place to respond to all opportunities. With this in mind, we have created the position of Vice President Commercial Products Dubai, and are pleased to announce that Mohammad Al Hashimi has been appointed this vital role to support our strategy. His responsibilities will include the development of new and unique commercial products, working closely with Destinaton Dubai on inbound leisure and business travel, as well as promoting Dubai as a world-class MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing and Exhibitions) destination. We have every confidence that he will excel in this role.”

Mr. Al Hashimi joined the company soon after graduating from the American University in Dubai with a Bachelor in Information Technology, and has gained valuable experience and industry knowledge through his various positions within the company. His most recent role was within the Destination & Leisure Management division, where he was the Manager of Strategy for the Emirates Holidays and Arabian Adventures brands. During this time he was integral to the strategic development of the portfolio, both externally with strong relationships with government ministries and associations, and internally with the management teams.

In his previous position as Head of e-Business & New Business Development for dnata Travel Services, Mohammad played a key role in the acquisition of British OTA, Travel Republic which subsequently led to a position on the company’s Board of Directors and also that of Travel Counsellors. Other key responsibilities at dnata Travel included the execution of the operational and commercial set up of Travel Counsellors in the UAE.

As well as excelling in his roles within Emirates and dnata, Al Hashimi, an Emirati national, has also continued with his personal development and has completed an MBA in Aviation Management.

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Airline News

Oman Air Adds Business Class Service to Calicut, Lucknow and jaipur

Oman Air has announced plans to introduce Business Class cabins to four of its most popular eastbound routes. From 1st October, customers will be able to enjoy Oman Air’s comfortable, stylish and award-winning Business Class service on flights from the airline’s home base of Muscat to Calicut, Lucknow and Jaipur, in India, and to Chittagong, in Bangladesh.

Oman Air operates Boeing B737s on all routes to the sub-Continent and, in response to phenomenal demand, has previously offered only Economy Class cabins to Calicut, Lucknow, Jaipur and Chittagong.

However, the continued growth of India’s dynamic economy has seen demand for Business Class seats on these routes steadily increase and it is now clear that the introduction of premium seats will be greeted enthusiastically by customers. In addition to business travellers, the routes meet the needs of leisure and VFR (visiting friends and relatives) air travellers.

Oman Air’s routes to the sub-Continent are some of its longest-established international services, laying the foundations for the airline’s subsequent expansion into the long haul sector. That expansion has seen Oman Air introduce routes to Europe, South East Asia and East Africa.

In parallel with the expansion of its network, Oman Air has raised the bar for premium travel. Earlier this year, the national carrier of the Sultanate of Oman Air was named ‘Middle East’s Leading Airline - Business Class’ and ‘Middle East’s Leading Airline - Economy Class’ at the World Travel Awards, and ‘Best Staff Service - Middle East’ at the World Airline Awards - SKYTRAX.

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Destination Review

Bhoothathankettu, the scenic dam site, is situated in a vast virgin forest of the village of Pindimana at a distance of 50kms from Kochi. There is a legenat the forest and hills was built by the demonsthe or 'Bhoothams' and hence the name Bhoothathankettu, i.e fort of the spirits. The dam here is built by placing unshaped stones on both sides of the Periyar river and is one of the oldest existing European structures in Kochi. There is an artificial pond with pedal boating facility which can take a 20-minute boat ride to the nearby Thattekkad bird sanctuary.

The story goes those ages ago, demons set out to submerge the Trikkariyoor temple, whose presiding diety is Lord Shiva, by damming the Periyar and flooding the area. But, Lord Shiva, suspecting trickery, came up with a plan to deter them. He made it appear that dawn was approaching by making a sound like the crowing of the rooster. The demons fearing the arrival of light fled from their task. But there remains to this day the visible proof of their effort - the huge stones the demons were supposed to have rolled onto the riverbed, the Old Bhothathankettu. The Periyar flows on through the narrow space which the demons did not quite manage to dam up.  That's imagination for you. The actual cause for the formation of the old Bhoothathankettu remains a conjecture. It’s been attributed to two great floods - one in the 4th century and the other in 1341, which threw open the port of Kochi. The massive landslides during the flood are believed to have caused gigantic rocks to roll down from the mountain and become entrenched in the Old Bhoothathankettu.  If its curiosity about this place which that brings tourists here, it will be her beauty that keeps them enthralled forever. Bhoothathankettu has the potential of becoming one of the must-visit places in Kerala yet it remains virtually unknown by tourists.

This is mainly because of the lack of infrastructure, even though plans for its development seems to have acquired some direction and drive of late.  If one is willing to put up with minor difficulties, one can come away with a veritable feast for the senses. Once you've arrived at Bhoothathankettu, which is located just eight kms north-east of Kothamangalam, there are various activities that one can indulge in. A trip upriver on a house boat that can conveniently accommodate 25 (for a fee of Rs. 500 or Rs. 20 per person), a ride on a speedboat, a trek into the jungle, rock climbing, fishing ...the possibilities for relaxation and fun remain endless.  A trip on the houseboat is a must. Cruising up the river that is purported to be a freshwater body, whose water has medicinal values of the `Neelakoduveli' that grows in the upreaches of the ghats (where the Periyar has its origin), is a memorable experience. The river brings a new meaning to the word `quiet' - at least once the motors of the boat are cut.  To one side of the river lies a dense forest, that grows to the very edge of the water, so much so it seems as if a part of the forest is growing on the Periyar itself. On the other side, you can catch an occasional glimpse of habitation between the coconut and rubber trees, but not enough of them to dampen the serenity of the place. The scenario remains unchanged for some time before that side too is overtaken by forest.  The river dips inland at times, creating tempting green coves that beckon you to swim in. As you go further upstream, to the right the river seems to break away from its almost straight path to flow between the Thattekad bird sanctuary and Chelamalai, which might have been the `Vanchi' of the old - the seat of the Cheraempire. According to locals, the forest on either side of the Periyar was once home to a thriving civilisation. Remains of wells, walls, pieces of pottery recovered from there and the ruins of temples, of ancient architecture, are proof of a highly developed culture that once existed on this river's bank.  Even if one may not be interested in anthropology, the river itself, embraced as it is by ever-green forests on both sides, the white storks lazily rising into the air, the kingfishers nearly torpedoing into the water, sightings of rare migratory birds from Siberia and above all the absolute peace and quiet that one can experience will make a trip to Bhoothathankettu worthwhile.  A journey up the Periyar to satisfy your parched senses with her beauty and tranquility are mere bonuses. The dam is a vantage point from where you can spot the turbulent water rushing from the dam towards the Old Bhoothathankettu. The river gives one the impression of sprouting here and there into pools of blood, due to the presence of a red water plant - possibly algae, that grows on the rocks just beneath the rushing water. A view of the surrounding area from up there, will make you forget the scorching rays of the sun that beats down on you, your companions, everything... to become lost in the legendary beauty of the Periyar.  All serene and placid, a ride through the waters is a unique experience, especially for the uninitiated. Lying close to Bhoothathankettu is the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary at Thattekkad. Trekking through the forests here is an exhilarating experience.


The two main irrigation projects of Ernakulam district - the Periyar Valley Irrigation Project and the Idamalayar, one of the biggest Hydro Electric projects are also located nearby.

Contact

DTPC, Ernakulam, Ph: +91 484 2367334

Getting there

·         Nearest railway station: Nearest railway station are Aluva, about 44 km

·         Nearest airport: Nearest airport is Cochin International Airport, about 37 km

 

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TUI puts $1,000,000 on the BLACKCAPS Winning the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 - Catch A Million Is Back!

Tui Brewery Ltd, official beer of New Zealand Cricket (NZC), is proud to announce a partnership agreement with the International Cricket Council (ICC) for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.

This summer, New Zealand will welcome the world’s best players to ignite the on-pitch action at cricket’s most prestigious global event, the ICC Cricket World Cup. To ensure the excitement is not only contained to the field, Tui Brewery has brewed a plan to make sure spectators get in on the action too.

Tui is pleased to announce the summer spectacle, which bowled over spectators during the 2013-14 ANZ International Series, Tui’s Catch a Million, will return for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.

This year iconic beer brand Tui is upping the ante by putting up to NZ$1,000,000 up for grabs for fans if the BLACKCAPS win the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. Fans can grab their share of the prize money in Tui’s new Catch a Million by catching a six one handed during the tournament matches played in New Zealand, whilst wearing a new ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 Tui t-shirt.

As the battle for cricket’s biggest prize returns to New Zealand after 23 years, this is an ICC Cricket World Cup with national pride at stake. Tui has incorporated an added element of patriotism into the new Catch a Million promotion, with the total eligible prize amount now tied to the New Zealand BLACKCAPS’ success in the tournament. The further the Kiwis go in ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, the more money lucky catch takers can get their hands on, with a total guaranteed prize pool of $1 million if the BLACKCAPS win the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. The minimum guaranteed prize pool is $250,000 if the BLACKCAPS do not go past pool play, meaning that if only two catches are taken both lucky catch takers will receive more than the same number of winners did last summer.

The new addition to the Catch a Million promotion aims to drive crowd participation at the 23 ICC Cricket World Cup matches on this side of the Tasman, and increase backing for the BLACKCAPS. Whilst the prize pool is linked to the BLACKCAPS’ progress, all ICC Cricket World Cup matches at the seven venues around New Zealand are eligible. This means that whether you are a BLACKCAPS supporter or not there is added incentive to get your hands on a Tui ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 t-shirt and get along to an ICC Cricket World Cup match. 

Tui will also be building up excitement in the lead-up to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, ensuring crowds get their eye-in, and plenty of catching practice, as the brand also launches a ‘Road to the ICC Cricket World Cup’ Catch A Million promotion for the ANZ International Series. As the official beer sponsor of the BLACKCAPS, Tui will also reward catch winners during the Sri Lanka and Pakistan One-Day International series with a money-can’t-buy experience for four people to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 final in Melbourne.

Tui Brewery Marketing Manager, William Papesch, said, “It is exciting to be a sponsor of both the BLACKCAPS and the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, as New Zealand jointly hosts one of the biggest sporting events in the world. The team at the Tui Brewery are confident cricketing fans will get behind the BLACKCAPS to go all the way, so we are increasing the size of the cash prize pool as the team progress through tournament. We are expecting to give away $1million, but how fans split the money is in their hands.”

Therese Walsh, Head of New Zealand for ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, said, “It’s fantastic to have iconic kiwi beer brand Tui on board. We want the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 to be a special and memorable experience for cricket fans and for those who love the excitement of major events. Tui’s creativity and passion will play a key role in achieving this.”

NZC Commercial and Marketing Manager James Wear is delighted Tui Catch a Million is back and is linked to the BLACKCAPS’ success. 

"Tui brought plenty of excitement to the ANZ International Series last summer with Catch a Million involving fans in the on-field action like never before.  With the new element of this summer’s promotion, fans will not only want to come to as many matches as they can across the summer, but they’ll also have a vested interested in seeing the BLACKCAPS go as far as possible in ICC CWC 2015.”

Last summer Tui rewarded catching a six like never before. This summer the brand is set to make the action even more exciting. Make sure you catch a piece of the action and back the BLACKCAPS to go all the way!

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InterContinental Hotels & Resorts® Launches New Family Packages

Celebrate the end of a great year with your loved ones at a number of hotels across the Asia, Middle East and Africa region

With its new Family Getaway Package, families looking to spend precious time together or explore a new destination now have another reason to go on an exciting and luxurious vacation at select InterContinental Hotels & Resorts® across the region.

From now to 28 February 2015,a number of hotels are offering a special Family Getaway Package where children can stay, dine and visit a local attraction for free. As part of the package, two parents and one child will enjoy a delectable buffet breakfast, with tickets to a local attraction. Children will also be able to embark on a gastronomical journey by indulging in dishes featured on the newly launched InterContinental Planet Trekkers Children’s Menu.*

Families have a variety of exciting destinations to choose from with InterContinental hotels and resorts across the Asia, Middle East and Africa region participating in the promotion. Intercontinental Bangkok will be providing tickets to the exclusive Siam Ocean World, where families can marvel at the wonders and learn about the colourful and mystical creatures of the underwater world. Further afield, InterContinental Singapore is offering an exciting day out at the world’s best rainforest zoo, the Singapore Zoo, where families can interact with over 2,800 animals across more than 300 species.

Samantha Llewellyn, Vice-President Marketing for Asia, Middle East and Africa (AMEA), InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG)said, “We know that parentsare always on the lookout for the best opportunities to show their children the world. They always look for options that will make their holidays extra memorable, especially during the end of year season.

“Our InterContinental Hotels & Resorts are renowned for being able to provide our guests with personalised and authentic local experiences. With our new package, we’re helping our youngest InterContinental guests to explore their holiday destinations, giving families a chance to bond and forge great memories,” she added.

To explore and book the package, guests can visit intercontinental.com/hotel packages or ihg.com/hotel packages. For know-how and InterContinental knowledge on how to make the most of family holidays with their offspring, guests can read the InterContinental Insider Guide to Travelling with Children.

With 180 hotels in more than 60 countries, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts is a truly international brand that goes out of its way to provide insightful, meaningful experiences for guests.

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The World's Best Jobs - Meet Naseer, Anantara’s Connoisseur Falconer

Meet Naseer, Anantara’s Connoisseur Falconer

The falcon has long been part of the United Arab Emirates cultural heritage and was once an integral part of desert life. Today falconry is practiced purely as a sport and the skill of a falconer is still highly esteemed and the power of the falcon greatly treasured. Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara’s expert falconer, Naseer Muhammad Abdul Latif is proud to show off his amazing skills as he takes guests on an historic journey of falconry that started over two millenniums ago.

Naseer has had a passion for birds from a very young age when he used to care for his brother’s pigeons and parrots at home. While working on a farm, Naseer helped feed the local falcons and started training them during his free time. When the farm owner saw his interest and enthusiasm around the birds, he offered him the opportunity to go through proper training to become a connoisseur falconer.

The training of a falcon has not changed for centuries \" a leather hood is used to cover the falcon’s eyes and the bird is fed only small portions. The falconer names his new bird in the first few weeks and remains with the bird constantly so he gets comfortable with his owner.

“Falcons are wild, fast and aggressive birds so finding the right balance between patience, time and effort can sometimes be complex during training,” Naseer explains. “For example, during the initial few weeks if I release the bird and push him to fly while he is not hungry, chances are he might not come back to me, so training requires a great level of expertise and understanding to master the bird.”

Exercising such a free creature often turns into an adventure in itself, and Naseer has a lot of stories to share on the subject, “During the early stages of my training, I had to walk for many kilometres in the sand dunes to find the falcon that I had just released, and try to convince him to come back to me. Sometimes, you just have to accept that he won’t come back, that’s one of the risks.”

However, when Naseer watches his falcons soar before guests at Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort, showcasing their incredible speed of 320 kilometres per hour and leaving the viewers in awe, he could not be more proud of his accomplishment as Anantara’s Chief Falconer.

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