Silversea to undergo fleet-wide refurbishment, biggest one in its history Tags: Silversea Cruises Share MONACO – Silversea has announced that it will be undergoing the biggest fleet-wide refurbishment plan in its history, worth US$170 million and scheduled to begin this fall.Silver Whisper, host to the iconic World Cruise, will undergo a refurbishment at the end of 2016. The ultra-luxe suites will be upgraded with marble-floors in bathrooms, while public spaces will also get a refresh. The pool will be freshly tiled and include new chaise longues, plus dining areas at The Restaurant and La Terrazza will be re-skinned with new carpeting and hardwood parquet, respectively.In addition, Silver Whisper’s communications hub is set for a major overhaul with the addition of two satellite antennas, vastly improving Internet speeds onboard and enabling guests to take full advantage of the new, interactive TVs and on-demand movies available in every suite.The refurbishment program extends to Silver Wind during her dry dock scheduled for October 2016. Refurbishments include new furniture and furnishings, technology upgrades, new flooring in restaurants, and a complete overhaul of the pool deck.More news: AMResorts has a new Sr. Dir. of Cdn. Sales & Consortia Rel’nsBeyond the Classic fleet, Silver Discoverer, the cruise line’s Expedition vessel, will also benefit from this investment in 2016, entering dry dock in October. The Restaurant will be remodeled with a more contemporary look, the pool grill will receive new furniture, The Discoverer lounge will transform from a breakfast venue to a sophisticated lounge, and new AV technology and furniture will be included in the Explorer Lounge as well.“We are thrilled to be moving ahead with these major refurbishments and look forward to welcoming guests aboard and sharing our unique vision of ultra-luxury cruising, both in terms of service and physical environment,” said Manfredi Lefebvre, Chairman of Silversea. “We pride ourselves on being the reference when it comes to ultra-luxury cruising and this investment reflects our long-term commitment in this regard toward our ships, our guests and our crew.”Further fleet-wide refurbishment will be communicated in due course. Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >> Thursday, August 4, 2016 Posted by
Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki embarks on US$55.4m reno, including name change Posted by Tags: Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki Share Tuesday, December 6, 2016 << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group With the next generation of Hawaii travellers in mind, Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki and Golf Club, a Waikiki favourite for more than 25 years, has begun an extensive US$55.4 million redevelopment and repositioning.Aimed for completion in spring 2017, the property will emerge as a brand new hotel with a brand new name: Prince Waikiki. All of its new design and rebranding elements will share the story of its Waikiki location history and heritage as a prominent gathering place. The refurbishment marks the hotel’s first major remodel since its grand opening on April 20, 1990.Situated at the gateway to Waikiki overlooking the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor, Prince Waikiki is a choice location at the epicentre of four of Oahu’s popular neighbourhoods: downtown/Chinatown Honolulu, Kakaako, Ala Moana and world-famous Waikiki.Such a central location allows guests to explore everything modern Honolulu offers, from the world-class beaches and shopping of Waikiki and Ala Moana, to all the multicultural and multifaceted food and restaurant neighbourhoods residents love, to rainforest and waterfall hiking trail escapes bordering the city.The property will heighten its guest experience with 563 transformed oceanfront guest rooms and suites, all-new dining options, a modernized lobby with elevated personalized services, a new infinity pool and enhanced meeting space. Hawaii-based G70 (formerly Group 70 International) is the project’s lead architect. Los Angeles-based Creative Resource Associates (CRA) Design will focus on interior design.“We’re innovating the overall resort experience to meet the needs and expectations of today’s traveller by creating a sanctuary within Waikiki that focuses on setting a higher standard for guest services with an eye on quality,” said hotel general manager, Chuck Abbot. “Our remodeled guest rooms with floor-to-celling panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean will emphasize relaxation with their natural colour scheme, décor, furniture and appointments.”With a focus on upgrading services, Prince Waikiki will offer an all-new experience with thoughtful design touches and new amenities. Guests will immediately feel a Hawaii sense of place at the hotel and discover the rich history of its location.“In working with our design team and identifying our Hawaiian heritage we decided to focus on key elements that would really elevate our sense of place and bring our story to life throughout the resort,” said Donn Takahashi, president, Prince Resorts Hawaii. “They are the muliwai, or abundant, thriving esturary; the Piʻinaio, a convergence of three fresh water streams from the mountains; the naio flower, which is an indigenous restorative plant; the hinana, which is a nourishing juvenile fish; and limu ʻeleʻeie which is a rejuvenating seaweed.”Takahashi added, “History tells us that each of these natural elements flourished in the abundance of the meeting of the waters at this site in ancient times. Honouring our guiding value of lokomaikaʻi (good will) in this process, it is our responsibility to share this story with our guests as stewards of this precious site.”As the hotel repositions itself as a sanctuary in Waikiki, becoming more intimate in scale and offering exceptional services, guests will also discover a connection to the area’s history and find artful touches throughout the property. These include a newly commissioned art sculpture designed by acclaimed local artist Kaili Chun.Coinciding with the renovation project, Prince Waikiki is excited to announce new partnerships with KatsuMidori Sushi Tokyo, Watabe Wedding Corporation and Honolulu Coffee. For more visit hawaiiprincehotel.com/evolution.
Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >> Transat looks for brighter days ahead with 50% of winter 2017 sun capacity sold Thursday, December 15, 2016 Tags: Sun Destinations, Transat MONTREAL — Transat A.T. Inc. posted revenues of $612.1 million for the quarter ended Oct. 31, compared with $634 million for the same quarter last year, a decrease of $21.9 million, or 3.5%.Transat recorded adjusted operating income of $46.5 million, compared with $70.8 million in 2015. Adjusted net income was $24.2 million compared with $44.6 million in 2015.“At the end of the previous quarter, we forecasted that we would have difficulty achieving another record summer in 2016, given the drastic increase in overall supply compared with the year before,” said Transat President and CEO Jean-Marc Eustache. “Our prediction proved to be correct. We’ve had a satisfactory summer season per se, but it was not enough to offset the especially challenging winter, with the end result that we are finishing the year with a slight adjusted net loss, equivalent to about 0.5% of sales.”Eustache attributed Transat’s $21.9 million decrease in revenue mainly to lower load factors (-3.6%), and lower average selling prices (-8.9%) on the transatlantic market. The number of passengers increased by 3.4%. Transat increased capacity in this market by 7.4% compared with 2015, while overall capacity increased nearly 14%.On the sun destinations market, average selling prices increased by 3.7%. Transat increased capacity by 5.0% compared with 2015, and the number of passengers rose by 2.2%.The drop in operating income stemmed mainly from the lower load factors and lower average selling prices, he added, which lower fuel costs and continuing cost-reduction efforts could not fully offset. The decrease in fuel costs, combined with the decline in value of the Canadian dollar against its U.S. counterpart, led to a decrease in operating costs of $12.9 million on the transatlantic market.Fears prompted by the Zika virus, the threat of strike action by Air Transat pilots, a decrease in demand for travel from Western Canada, and increased competition all affected Transat’s winter-season performance. The decline in value of the Canadian dollar against the U.S. currency, combined with lower fuel costs, resulted in a $49 million increase in operating costs for sun destination packages, nearly 60% of which was offset by Transat’s cost-reduction efforts and by higher average selling prices. The combination of these factors prevented any improvement in profitability, according to the company.More news: Beep, beep! Transat hits the streets with Cubamania truckEustache said Transat has taken “major steps forward” in the implementation of its strategic plan”, specifically regarding the simplification of its distribution structure in Europe and its Web presence.In October 2016 European anti-trust authorities approved the transaction for the sale of Transat’s France- and Greece-based tour-operating business units (Transat France and Tourgreece, respectively) to multinational tourism company TUI AG.“We are now ready to begin the next phase, namely, make an acquisition in the hotel market in the south, before, in a third phase, setting our sights on the U.S. The year just concluded has been challenging for our bottom line, but particularly fruitful when it came to making progress on our transformation plan.”Transat is in discussions with its partner, H10 Hotels, with regard to its 35% interest in Ocean Hotels. During the next months, Transat plans to evaluate the preferred course of action: increasing its stake to 100%, or selling it to its partner, who currently holds the remaining 65% share, to free up funds for other investments. Transat’s goal is to have full control of its hotel unit and the company says it expects to be in a position to make its decision public in the coming months.Ocean Hotels directly owns three hotels with a total of 1,600 rooms, and manages another four in Cuba comprising 2,000 rooms. The goal of the venture is to reach 5,600 rooms by 2019 through a mix of owned and operated hotels.More news: Onex paying big to get WestJet and that will send airfares soaring, says CWTAs set forth in the plan announced during the first quarter of 2015, Transat is continuing its cost-reduction and margin-improvement initiatives, which target savings of at least $100 million over three years. The main initiatives that contributed to reaching the objective of $45 million in 2015 were Air Transat’s insourcing of narrow-body aircraft and implementation of a flexible fleet.The principal factors leading to achievement of the $30 million for 2016 were the continued application of the cost-reduction program at Air Transat, optimization of hotel costs, and growth in ancillary revenues. Transat says it plans to save at least another $25 million in 2017.Looking ahead to the next six months, on the sun destinations market outbound from Canada Transat’s capacity is 3% lower than last year. To date, 50% of that capacity has been sold, bookings are ahead by 2.2%, and load factors are higher by 3.3%.The impact of the weakened Canadian dollar, added to the increase in fuel costs, will be a 3% increase in operating costs if the dollar and fuel costs remain at their current level. Currently margins are lower by 1.5% compared with last year at the same date.On the transatlantic market Transat’s capacity is up 8% compared to last winter. To date, 49% of that capacity has been sold, bookings are ahead by 10%, load factors are higher by 0.8%, and selling prices are lower by 4.4%.Higher fuel costs, in combination with currency variations, will result in an increase in operating costs of 2.7% if the dollar remains at its current level against the U.S. dollar, the euro and the pound, and if fuel prices remain stable. Margins are currently lower by 7.8% compared with last year at the same date. Share Posted by
SEATTLE — Windstar Cruises is gearing up for a busy season in Europe next year, with six brand new cruises and 26 Star Collector Voyages scheduled for 2019.Now open for booking, Europe 2019 itineraries start at US$2,399 per guest and feature a total of 163 unique ports of call like Edinburgh, Cork and Harlingen, places where large cruise ships cannot go.“At Windstar we are constantly seeking out new experiences and lesser known ports – hidden treasures that only true small ships can access – to provide curated sailings with custom offerings designed specifically for smaller groups,” said Windstar President John Delaney.Delaney also noted that the cruise line has added 20 new itineraries in Europe in 2018, and that its 2019 season reflects some “fine tuning” based on customer feedback.“We are excited to offer more new itineraries for exploring the region in 2019 and are certain that we will be giving our loyal guests and the well-travelled new reasons to return to Europe,” he said.More news: Visit Orlando unveils new travel trade tools & agent perksThe six new itineraries debuting in 2019 are:Mediterranean Island Hopping Adventures: This 10-day voyage sails from Barcelona to Athens aboard the Wind SurfAntiquities of the Adriatic & Greece: This eight-day cruise sails from Athens to Venice aboard Wind SurfArtists & Idols of Iberia: This 10-day Iberian cruise aboard Star Breeze explores Portugal, Morocco, Gibraltar and SpainCorinth Canal & Western Epicenters of the Ancient World: Sailing aboard the Star Pride, this 10-day voyage retraces ancient trade routesSecrets of Croatia & Greece via the Corinth Canal: This eight-day voyage aboard Star Pride makes its way from Venice to Athens by way of Slovenia, Croatia and MontenegroStar Collector: Grand Mediterranean: This 51-day extended itinerary combines the new Barcelona to Athens and Athens to Venice itineraries on Wind Surf, plus makes its way from Iberia, around Italy, through the Greek Isles to Turkey and backStar Collector Voyages combine some of the most popular Windstar itineraries to create epic voyages of each region. Sailing for 13+ days with few repeated ports, these voyages range from 14 to 51 days and include free laundry to help lighten the packing load.More news: Canada raises travel warning amid escalating protests in Hong KongFor more information go to windstarcruises.com. Friday, July 6, 2018 Travelweek Group Share << Previous PostNext Post >> New voyages announced for Windstar’s 2019 Europe season Tags: Windstar Cruises Posted by
<< Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: JetBlue, WestJet Share By: The Canadian Press FARNBOROUGH – One of the founders of WestJet Airlines Ltd. and JetBlue Airways Corp. has committed to buy 60 Airbus A220-300 aircraft for a new U.S. airline he’s launching.A memorandum of understanding for the aircraft which was developed by Bombardier Inc. was announced at the Farnborough Air Show.The deal is worth US$5.4 billion at list prices, but airlines typically receive large discounts.Deliveries of the former C Series jets are slated to begin in 2021, a year after the planes are expected to start coming off a new assembly line in Mobile, Ala.The new airline is backed by a group of investors led by David Neeleman, who is also an investor in TAP in Portugal and controlling shareholder in Azul airlines in Brazil.The commitment is the second since Airbus took control of the aircraft program. Last week, JetBlue ordered 60 of the same aircraft for delivery starting in 2020 with the option for another 60 starting in 2025. A founder of WestJet and JetBlue commits to order 60 A220s for new U.S. airline Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Learn about Host Agencies and more with Travel Edge Share Wednesday, September 12, 2018 Tags: Travel Edge, Videos << Previous PostNext Post >> TORONTO — In this new Travelweek video series, Travel Edge explores the benefits of being a luxury leisure travel professional. Their advisors have travelled the world and invested thousands of hours in product training and industry relationships in order to tailor the perfect trip.Travel Edge is a $750 million company specializing in Leisure, Corporate & Events, and Tours. Their Leisure division has 10 offices in the US, Canada, and Bermuda, with over 750 expert advisors. These advisors have a wide range of specialties including Air, Cruise, Vacation, and VIP travel. Many have decades of experience, though a growing portion are professionals taking advantage of Travel Edge’s exclusive training, tools, support and management to build a new career.In 2011, Travel Edge started with the goal of being the best luxury leisure agency in the world. They developed the Agent Digital Experience (ADX) platform to solve chronic efficiency problems for agents, collecting all products on one platform, with instant quotes, better client relationship management, and automated invoicing. More news: A new low for no-frills flying: easyJet assigns backless seat to passengerTrue luxury is an experience – a feeling that comes from professional end-to-end customer service. Travel Edge begins with pre-planning and finishes long after every suitcase is unpacked. They provide their advisors with the tools, the training, and the technology to help them consistently deliver higher customer satisfaction and yield higher margins.To learn more about Travel Edge, watch the video series at http://www.travelweek.ca/media/videos/. Posted by Travelweek Group
Families gorged on hot dogs slathered in mustard, ketchup and relish. A veteran sloshed a stein of beer. Others patriots, dressed in their best red, white and blue waited in line for carnival rides or participated in picnic games.The Cervecería Costa Rica fairgrounds, north of San José, were transformed Wednesday morning into the site of the annual U.S. Independence Day celebration. A couple thousand U.S. expats showed up for the annual bash in their home away from homeland. The Fourth of July celebration has thrived for decades in Costa Rica. At the picnic, no fireworks flash in the sky, and nobody would confuse the jets flying overhead from Juan Santamaría International Airport with Blue Angels. But certain moments resonate with U.S. residents living abroad. When it came time to sing the national anthem, as U.S. military members raised the flag, attendees moved their right hands to their hearts and mouthed the words that many had committed to memory long ago. “O say can you see…” “It was a little touching. I heard the Pledge of Allegiance and the Star-Spangled Banner, and I felt a lot of nostalgia,” said Clark Leips, 76. “It really got to me.”Throughout the event, The Tico Times spoke with several partakers about what the U.S. Independence Day fiesta means to them.Morgan PleasantOriginally from: Washington, D.C.After her two years in the Peace Corps, Pleasant is staying on for a third working as a coordinator. She said she found her way to the Fourth of July celebration to get together with other Peace Corps volunteers from across the country. “Today didn’t feel like the Fourth of July until we came out here with all these other people from the States,” she said. “It’s a great taste of home.”Lani BardajeOriginally from: Washington, D.C.The Fourth of July celebration was Bardaje’s first stop in Costa Rica. She had just flown in to see her friend Morgan Pleasant, a Peace Corps volunteer. It was her first time celebrating the holiday abroad, yet from her of travel experiences, Bardaje said she’s not surprised to see lots of U.S. expats convening to celebrate their holiday. “This is a great stop, but I’m ready to see the real Costa Rica,” she said.Carolina SuárezOriginally from: HerediaSuárez found herself at the Cervecería Costa Rica on Wednesday by tagging along with coworkers from the Peace Corp headquarters in San José, where she is a program manager. She said she was curious about how U.S. expats celebrated the Fourth of July. “Costa Ricans celebrate their independence day in their own communities, and not with a one big party,” she said. Not all the folks from the United States can do that here so it’s nice that everyone can gather here to party, she said.William KincyOriginally from: Raleigh, North CarolinaKincy is visiting his wife’s family in Costa Rica, and the whole crew came out to see what the picnic was like. “I like being able to observe my country’s independence even if I’m not at home,” he said. His wife, Roxana, said it was nice that her husband and daughter, Malia, could partake in the experience.Clark LeipsOriginally from: St. Petersburg, FloridaLeips lived in Quepos, on the central Pacific Coast, for six years until finally making the move to Grecia, west of the capital, where he resides now. Leips made his first trip to the Independence Day picnic, and said it was a special time. “I always thought it was too far to feel it was worth the trip,” he said. “So I think it’s absolutely super to be able to come to something like this.” Facebook Comments No related posts.
More than a third of the diversity of commercial fish species in the Gulf of Nicoya can be found in the Playa Blanca Marine Wetland at Hotel Punta Leona, on Costa Rica’s Central Pacific coast.That was the conclusion of a study by the Keto Foundation, a marine and coastal conservation and research group, released in conjunction with International Wetlands Day, on Feb. 2. According to marine biologist Víctor Céspedes, this particular wetland is the only one of its kind in the Central Pacific Conservation Area, which makes its conservation even more important. The wetland covers 5.5 square kilometers along the coast, of which 1.3 square kilometers currently are protected. Céspedes, who managed the wetland’s conservation for two years, said the fact that it was located on the property of a private hotel helped conservation efforts, as hotel management collaborated with Coast Guard officials, who patrolled the area. Céspedes said wetlands are among the world’s most threatened ecosystems, as they often face drought, land-use conversion, pollution and over-fishing. “During the two years that I managed the wetland, we tried to educate local fishermen about the importance of protecting the marine life that exists there,” Céspedes said.Wetlands are crucial to the reproduction of marine species that later migrate to areas where fishing is permitted. Playa Blanca’s wetland management program is tied in with responsible fishing programs in nearby areas, a benefit for both nature lovers and coastal residents. “In the wetland there is a large number of different juvenile species of fish, which means it’s an area that has high levels of reproduction. There are periods when the species reproduce, and other periods when they migrate,” Céspedes said.Hotel Punta Leona Manager Joe Calderón told The Tico Times that keeping local fishermen out of the wetland is a constant struggle. “We put up markers around the area where fishermen can’t enter. If they do, we’ll send the Coast Guard to explain that this is a protected area and fishing isn’t allowed,” Calderón said. The hotel organizes educational trips into the wetland for local schoolchildren, as well snorkeling tours where visitors can see colorful fish species and turtles. To learn more about this private initiative, see: www.hotelpuntaleona.com. Facebook Comments No related posts.
Students at Costa Rica’s police academy will be riding in style this year with the acquisition of 17 new training vehicles. The U.S. Embassy donated six of the new automobiles along with protective suits, equipment belts and police batons.“What we are doing today is not simply giving vehicles and new equipment and saying ‘well that’s it,’” Public Security Minister Mario Zamora said. “This is part of a strategy for mobilization and safety.”The vehicles will be the first piece of equipment ever designated specifically for the training of new police officers, and they will be used to teach defensive driving techniques to students. Academy officials hope that this new training will help reduce the number of automobile accidents involving police officers.The U.S. Embassy invested $153,000 in the vehicles and equipment, and an additional $97,500 came from the academy’s budget and the Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI). The donation marks a continuation of U.S. Embassy investment in public security in Costa Rica. That policy included the launch of a $500,000, U.S.-funded community-safety program called SIMEP in December.“The program has brought a change in policing,” said U.S. Embassy official Ron Perrin. “The ability to respond to certain increases in crime has already shown a good impact.”The new equipment adds to other improvements to the country’s public security administration, including a complete overhaul of the police training system. According to Zamora, the new police academy manual bumped the training period for police from six months to 10 and made the school much more selective.“In the past when someone said they wanted to enter the police force they encountered a social stigma,” Zamora said. “Today, out of every 100 people who want to enter the police force, only 40 actually make it. This says that it is an institution that is getting more selective, getting more support from the population and is becoming more recognized professionally for protecting the rights and liberties of the public.”With better personnel and better training come better salaries for police. February will mark the initiation of a new base wage for all police officers, including raises to approximately 13,099 officers in 46 classifications. All trained officers will now make 260,200 ($520) per month, and the increase will depend on their current classification –with the highest possible raise being 485,400 ($970).Costa Rica has seen a significant decrease in homicides and violent crime since 2010. Statistics released in a U.S. State Department crime report show that from 2010-2011, violent crime decreased by 12 percent. While official numbers from last year have not been released, Zamora said the number of homicides also decreased in 2012.The overall perception of safety among Costa Ricans also has seen change. In 2010, 77 percent of Costa Ricans believed crime was increasing, according to a Gallup poll. The most recent poll taken in January showed this number had decreased to 55 percent.“The investments that Costa Rica has made show a strategy that puts citizen safety in high regard,” Perrin said. “So far it is having positive results.” Facebook Comments No related posts.
WEE WAA, Australia – A tiny Australian town better known for cotton-picking than culture was relishing the limelight Friday as thousands of electro-pop fans descended for French group Daft Punk’s album launch.Though “Random Access Memories” has been available online for several days and the French duo will not be present, thousands of fans flocked to remote Wee Waa, a far-flung town of just 1,653, for the album’s official launch.The cotton town’s population will more than double for the event – being billed as an “official album playback” – with 4,000 tickets sold and police expecting crowds of up to 6,000.“The main street’s just chock-a-block, the transformation is just out of sight, it’s amazing,” said local Mayor Conrad Bolton. “We’re infamous around here, but today I think we’re famous.”Wee Waa, known as the “Cotton Capital of Australia”, has thrown itself into the spirit, with the local butchery crafting Daft Pork Sausages and Random Access Rissoles – an Australian meatball.The bakery, open all night specially for fans seeking a post-party snack, is selling Punk Pies and Techno Treats, and the local pub has ordered five times the usual number of kegs and rostered on 10 staff instead of its usual two.There are robot masks – a nod to Daft Punk’s trademark headgear – on every street corner, with the town recording a series of online videos “Road to Wee Waa” showing local farmers, cotton threshers and schoolkids in costume.Staff at the radio astronomy observatory, reported by Rolling Stone to be the reason Daft Punk chose Wee Waa to launch its futuristic album, recorded time-lapse footage of the telescopes dancing to the track “Get Lucky.”Sony chartered a jet to fly journalists out to cover the event and has repeatedly quashed rumours that the pair of Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter would put in a surprise appearance at the party.But that hasn’t stopped a wave of so-called spottings as far afield as Ballarat in neighbouring Victoria state Friday.The Daft Punk party is just one part of Wee Waa’s 79th annual agricultural show which features the usual fare of a pet show, wood-chopping contest, dog-jumping, a truck muster and talent quest.Speaking to Australian radio ahead of the launch event, Daft Punk said Australia was the last place they had toured back in December 2007 and returning here with their first album in eight years felt like a natural fit.“Each time we went to Australia it was a great experience. It feels like Australia understands our music and we’re excited to present the music there,” the duo said.Of Wee Waa they added: “It could be anywhere – that’s what this music is made for. Anywhere and everywhere.” Facebook Comments No related posts.
Cable news network CNN included a Costa Rican Pacific beach on the Nicoya Peninsula – Playa Nosara – as one of the best tourism destinations for 2014, due its “eco-friendliness.”CNN released 11 places to go worldwide, with three other Latin American destinations joining Costa Rica.On Nosara, Alvin Rosenbaum, a visiting scholar at George Washington University’s International Institute of Tourism, explained the beach community’s appeal.“Its pristine beaches are responsible for the introduction of an array of new activities for families with children, ranging from toddlers’ programs to educational and volunteer programs for older children,” Rosenbaum told CNN. “Nosara prides itself on its beaches and wildlife refuges and is now one of the most environmentally aware communities in Latin America.”Those activities include surfing schools, nature hikes and yoga retreats. Nosara also is in the process of building a recycling center, an uncommon sight in most of Costa Rica, showing its commitment to environmental sustainability, he said.Nosara also took a nod in 2012 from the New York Times, which listed it as one of the top 45 places in the world to visit.Further south, CNN included Panama City as one of its top 11 destinations, citing the 100th anniversary of the canal, the recent economic boom and the country’s various natural wonders as major draws. Panama plans to complete Central America’s first subway system in January.On Brazil, CNN wrote that the World Cup in June and July is a must-see in what has become the world’s soccer capital. CNN said the Amazon, Iguazú Falls and a vibrant party culture could keep soccer aficionados glued to the country.A final Latin American entrant, Ecuador, earned praise for its plan to invest $600 million in tourism infrastructure over the next four years. CNN referenced an International Living report that said Ecuador has been the No. 1 retirement destination for five years in a row. Facebook Comments No related posts.
Costa Rica ranked 54th out of 138 countries evaluated in the World Economic Forum’s latest Global Competitiveness Report released this week.The country ranked fourth in Latin America this year and second in Central America behind Panama.The World Economic Forum ranked Chile the most competitive country in the region, followed by Panama and Mexico. Paraguay, Bolivia and Venezuela ranked at the bottom of the Latin American countries.The report notes that Costa Rica’s slight decline in ranking is mainly due to its scores in three areas: institutions, market efficiency for goods and innovation. In each of these pillars the country dropped 11 spots compared to last year’s report.Costa Rica also dropped in the ranking in terms of business sophistication.In terms of macroeconomic environment, Costa Rica rose 12 spots in the ranking, from 94 to 82, event though it got weak scores for the country’s rising debt and fiscal deficit.The country also ranked low on infrastructure, mostly because of its public roads, ports and air transport infrastructure.The report noted that the most problematic factors for doing business in Costa Rica are inefficient government bureaucracy, inadequate infrastructure, high tax rates and minimal access to financing.The World Economic Forum calculates its index by collecting figures from the World Bank, United Nations, World Health Organization and International Telecommunication Union on 107 variables grouped into 12 categories.The Costa Rica-based Central American Institute of Business Administration also provides information about Costa Rica and other countries in the region.Where Costa Rica improvedDespite its drop in the global ranking, Costa Rica leads Latin American countries in the categories of innovation and business sophistication. It also leads the region in terms of health and primary education.The country received a score of 6.2 out of 7 in health and primary education, which placed it near global leader Finland, which scored 6.8.Costa Rica has a life expectancy of nearly 80 years, one of the highest in the report. Costa Rica also has few cases of diseases like malaria and AIDS, which negatively impacted public health indicators for many poor economies, the report noted.The country’s scores for its elementary, high school and college education systems were among the top 35 in the world.Business leaders agreeIn response to Costa Rica’s ranking in this year’s Global Competitiveness Report, local business leaders demanded improvements from the government, mainly in public infrastructure and in cutting red tape.Francisco Gamboa, executive director of the Costa Rican Chamber of Industries, said Costa Rica’s decline in the ranking wasn’t surprising.“We will not improve our position in the competitiveness ranking until we improve our roads, finish the Moín cargo terminal and declare war on excessive red tape,” he said.Yolanda Fernández, president of the Costa Rica Chamber of Commerce, said in a public statement that the World Economic Forum report reflects the country’s reality. She said private-sector entrepreneurs face daily problems with excessive bureaucracy.She also said that the country’s precarious infrastructure is always a major problem. As an example, Fernández criticized the excessive time cargo trucks spend transporting merchandise every day because of constant traffic jams.Economy Minister Welmer Ramos said the administration of President Luis Guillermo Solís has passed legal reforms to promote competitiveness and is currently promoting changes in legal procedures to speed up the process to open new businesses.Ramos said the country’s drop in the World Economic Forum report does not necessarily mean its competitiveness has deteriorated. “It can also means that other countries are improving,” he said.Costa Rica’s results in the World Economic Forum ‘s Global Competitiveness Index 2016-2017 Related posts:Will Donald Trump’s victory affect Costa Rica’s economy? Gallito candy, chocolates won’t be ‘Made in Costa Rica’ anymore Will U.S. call center bill affect jobs in Costa Rica? Dollar exchange rate down following Central Bank’s intervention announcement Facebook Comments
LACSA, orLineas Aéreas Costarricenses S.A., once flew the colors of Costa Rica throughout North, Central and South America.Founded in 1945 with financing from the Costa Rican government, Pan American World Airways and private investments, LACSA soon became the national airline. It operated international flights from its hub in San José to destinations across the Americas.Watch: An old LACSA television commercial in Costa RicaIn 1998, LACSA became a member airline of TACA (Transportes Aéreos del Continente Americano). In 2009, TACA announced its merger with the Colombian airline Avianca, which all but eliminated the LACSA name and brand.This photo, taken in March 1993, shows a LACSA Boeing 737-296. The plane, registered as LN-BRL, was first delivered to Quebecair in 1980 and enjoyed a brief stint with LACSA between 1992 and 1993, according to Air Fleets.Photo attribution: Aero Icarus from Zürich, Switzerland [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons. Related posts:Tico Times #TBT: Memories of Costa Rica Tico Times #TBT: A 1947 documentary of Costa Rica Tico Times #TBT: The one millionth Tico Tico Times #TBT: The earthquake that rattled Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast Facebook Comments
More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Doctors in Myanmar had placed Suu Kyi on intravenous drips after motion sickness caused her to fall ill twice during her campaign in March.The European trip is seen as a sign of gratitude to governments and organizations that supported Suu Kyi’s peaceful struggle against Myanmar’s former military rulers over more than two decades, 15 years of which she spent under house arrest.Last month, Suu Kyi made her first trip out of Myanmar in 24 years to neighboring Thailand. Ahead of that trip, aides said she was preparing by packing her medicine for motion sickness.___Associated Press writer Jocelyn Gecker in Bangkok contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) “I am very concerned for her health,” Pyone told The Associated Press in Yangon. “Considering her age, the amount of travel she’s doing, the time difference, lack of rest and her extremely tight schedule _ it is very worrisome.”Suu Kyi arrived late Wednesday night in Switzerland, on her first trip to Europe in 24 years. Her high-profile visit also includes stops in Norway, Ireland, England and France.Thursday’s hectic schedule included speeches, receptions and news conferences first in Geneva and then in the Swiss capital Bern, where Suu Kyi looked pale and told reporters she felt exhausted. At one point she pressed a finger to her lips and motioned to an aide who rushed to her side with a bag. She then bent over and threw up before being escorted out of the room.Suu Kyi canceled an evening dinner in Bern but resumed her schedule Friday with a visit to the Swiss parliament. A highlight of her trip is expected Saturday, when she will be in Norway to formally accept her Nobel Peace Prize 21 years late.Suu Kyi’s doctor said she has no serious health problems but weighs a mere 48 kilograms (106 pounds), has low blood pressure and can get easily weakened by vomiting. Pyone said she had not spoken directly to Suu Kyi after her ill spell in Bern but had been in contact with people close to her. It was not immediately known what treatment, if any, Suu Kyi received. Associated PressYANGON, Myanmar (AP) – Aung San Suu Kyi’s doctor expressed worry Friday that the Nobel Peace laureate’s whirlwind tour of Europe could weaken her health, after she fell ill on the second day of her two-week trip.The 66-year-old opposition leader known for her steely grace and longtime struggle for democracy in Myanmar has a weak stomach when it comes to travel, said Pyone Moe Ei, one of Suu Kyi’s two personal physicians. Suu Kyi had similar bouts with weakness and vomiting during her rigorous nationwide campaign for a seat in Parliament earlier this year, which doctors attributed to exhaustion and motion sickness. Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Comments Share Sponsored Stories Top Stories Check your body, save your life Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Patients with chronic pain give advice New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths
Top Stories “We are determined to do what we can to help the people of Mali in their time of need,” Ban said. “Humanitarian agencies are helping suffering civilians. The United Nations has also sent specialists on the military and political tracks. This is a moral imperative for all in the international community. I have presented to the Security Council my recommendation on the logistics support package for (the Mali force).”With Mali at the top of the agenda, African leaders hope they can make quick progress in deploying a substantial number of African troops there. As the African leaders met, French special forces fighting alongside Malian troops were pushing farther north into the Malian desert in an offensive against al Qaida-linked Islamists who took control of northern Mali more than nine months ago.Africa’s economic boom is threatened by violent conflicts across the continent, African Union officials said at the summit.“While we are proud of the progress made in expanding and consolidating peace and security on the continent, we also acknowledge that much still needs to be done to resolve ongoing, renewed and new conflict situations in a number of countries,” said African Union Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Ban urged the two Sudans to resume direct talks and spoke of the “dangerous humanitarian situation in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states.”“In Sudan and South Sudan the parties have taken positive steps to resolve outstanding issues,” Ban said. “But they should make more progress in meeting their agreements.”Mediators led by former South African leader Thabo Mbeki have until July to push the two sides to agree on the status of the disputed Abyei region as well as other contested border areas.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Comments Share Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Dlamini-Zuma said the Peace and Security Council of the African Union will report to the summit on efforts to resolve conflicts in countries ranging from Mali to Madagascar.The Peace and Security Council of the African Union said in a statement Saturday that it wanted “the early operationalization of the African Standby Force” in Mali. The council also said it fully supports Mali President Dioncounda Traore but urged him to put in place a roadmap to free and fair elections. It also said the African Union is committed to preserving the unity of Mali and would “spare no efforts” to safeguard the country’s territorial integrity.A number of African countries have pledged to send troops to Mali, and on Tuesday the African Union will hold a conference of donors with hopes that money will be raised for the Mali force. The Peace and Security Council of the African Union urged member states to “seize the opportunity of the donors’ conference … to meaningfully contribute toward the mobilization of the necessary resources.”The council also urged the international community to contribute generously to the Mali force.Meanwhile, the leaders of Sudan and South Sudan met at the summit in Addis Ababa, although African Union officials said they did not expect them to make much headway. South Sudan President Salva Kiir and Sudan President Omar al-Bashir earlier this month agreed to “the unconditional and speedy” implementation of deals they had reached back in September. But a subsequent meeting of the two countries’ negotiating teams that should have outlined timetable for the deal’s implementation ended in disagreement. Sponsored Stories Four benefits of having a wireless security system Associated PressADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) – African leaders met in the Ethiopian capital Sunday for talks dominated by the conflict in Mali as well as lingering territorial issues between the two Sudans.The African Union says it will deploy a force in Mali, where French troops are helping the Malian army to push back Islamist extremists whose rebellion threatens to divide the West African nation.United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is attending the two-day summit in Addis Ababa, where Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn took over from President Yayi Boni of Benin as chairperson of the African Union. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day
Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober How men can have a healthy 2019 ELMAU, Germany (AP) — A top European Union official said Sunday that Greece’s creditors didn’t deliver a take-it-or-leave-it ultimatum to end the standoff over the country’s international bailout, disputing how the latest proposal has been presented in Greece.The comments from European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker came after Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told Parliament on Friday that the creditors’ proposals for a deal on the country’s debt were “a negative surprise” and termed the suggestion “irrational.” He said Tsipras “was presenting the proposal of the institutions as a leave-or-take offer. That was not the case.”It was only the latest back-and-forth in six months of difficult negotiations since Tsipras’ left-wing Syriza party won Greece’s national election and came into office vowing to do away with the tough conditions creditors imposed in return for two bailouts worth 240 billion euros ($270 billion.)Juncker, often regarded as favoring more leniency with Greece, displayed impatience with Tsipras several times during the news conference. He said the prime minister had promised him additional Greek proposals on Thursday, Friday and Saturday but they had not arrived.Juncker said he was still friends with the Greek prime minister and said he ruled out Greece leaving the 19-nation eurozone, but that no one “could pull a rabbit out of a hat” and come up with a deal.The European leaders are “all of the opinion that we still have a good bit of work in front of us,” Merkel said in a separate interview with ARD television. “We will do everything that is possible.”Greece is running dangerously low on money.It was scheduled to make a 305 million-euro payment to the IMF on Friday, but instead took the option of bundling four payments due this month into one installment due at the month’s end. A default on its debts could eventually lead to worsening turmoil and Greece leaving the shared euro currency so it can print its own currency to cover its bills. Top Stories Comments Share Juncker and other European leaders told their U.S., Japanese and Canadian counterparts at the Group of Seven summit in Germany that they are working “at high pressure” to resolve the impasse, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told ZDF television.“But we also made clear that, in Europe, solidarity on one side always goes together with an effort on the other side, and we have not yet achieved our aim,” Merkel added.Athens, which faces pressure to agree to painful deficit-cutting measures, wants any deal to lighten its crushing debt load. Tsipras said Greece could not accept last week’s proposal from the so-called “institutions” — the EU’s executive Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank.Tsipras spoke by phone Saturday evening with Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, the latest in a string of such conversations. Greek officials say the three are expected to meet at a previously scheduled EU-Latin America summit in Brussels on Wednesday.Juncker told reporters just before the G-7 summit opened Sunday that the creditors’ latest offer made clear where there was room for negotiation. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, left, and U.S. President Barack Obama walk to attend their first meeting in the Schloss Elmau hotel during the G-7 summit in Elmau near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Sunday, June 7, 2015. (Michaela Rehle/Pool Photo via AP) Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center ___Geir Moulson in Berlin contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories
New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Molaverdi, a reformist politician and women’s rights activist, said women will be allowed into stadiums to watch men’s matches in specific sports such as volleyball, basketball, handball and tennis. However, she said women still won’t be allowed into soccer, swimming and wrestling matches.The decision has yet to be officially announced, but Molaverdi told the AP that, “a limited number of women, mainly families of national team players,” will be allowed to watch the upcoming volleyball matches as a way of gradually introducing the change.“If it practically happens a few times, the concerns will be completely removed and it will be proven that allowing women to watch men’s sports matches is not problematic,” she said. “Necessary measures need to be taken in order not to spread concern. This is an issue that can be easily managed so that it would not turn into a predicament.”Women generally have been banned from games since Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, though foreign women can attend matches of their national teams. Senior clerics have opposed women attending sporting events because male athletes often wearing revealing clothing, and the fans in the crowd sometimes shout obscene chants. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober The ban came to worldwide attention last year over the detention of an Iranian-British woman, Ghoncheh Ghavami, who tried to attend a men’s volleyball match between Iran and Italy. Ghavami was detained for several hours and then released, but was arrested again a few days later. She was eventually sentenced to a year in prison for “propagating against the ruling system,” but was freed on bail in November pending an appeal.While Iran’s judiciary has said her case was linked to her work with the opposition, the FIVB, which oversees world volleyball games, called for her release, saying it showed “the need to give men and women worldwide equal rights to participate in sport.” At the same time, the FIVB decided Iran wouldn’t host the Boys’ Under-19 World Championship this year, saying the decision was based solely on technical grounds.In a move to test the waters, some women were allowed inside a stadium last week to watch a men’s basketball match in Tehran. There was no immediate backlash over that, however some hard-liners have threatened to create a public uproar in order to stop women from attending a June 19 match in Tehran between the Iranian national volleyball team and the U.S. team. Comments Share Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — A limited number of Iranian women will be allowed to watch Volleyball World League games in Tehran later this month, a senior government official has told The Associated Press, part of a government move to allow women and families to attend male sporting events.Vice President for Women and Family Affairs Shahindokht Molaverdi, part of the Cabinet of moderate President Hassan Rouhani, said the government hopes to avoid a showdown with hard-liners over the issue. However, the issue already has garnered worldwide attention on Iran with the detention of a British-Iranian woman trying to attend a men’s match last year. Sponsored Stories Men’s health affects baby’s health too Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Vice President for Women and Family Affairs Shahindokht Molaverdi sits under portraits of her predecessors in an interview with The Associated Press at her office in Tehran, Iran, Monday, June 8, 2015. Molaverdi said a limited number of women will be allowed to watch Volleyball World League games in Tehran later this month as it lifts a ban on Iranian women attending male sporting events. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi) Having women at matches may also cut down on fans swearing, Molaverdi said.“Women’s presence and getting families into stadiums will create a sense of formality that can definitely moderate the atmosphere of stadiums and give it a moral spirit,” she said.Meanwhile, Molaverdi said she is seeking to set a gender quota for women in parliamentary elections early next year. Currently, only nine out of 290 lawmakers in Iran’s parliament are women.“That’s less than 3 percent. Gender quotas should be applied for women in the parliament,” she said. “What we have offered is 30 percent of parliament seats” be allocated for women.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Four benefits of having a wireless security system
How men can have a healthy 2019 Sponsored Stories The Islamic State group, which has kidnapped Western journalists in Syria and later killed them, is outside the city and controls parts of the northern and eastern Aleppo countryside. The extremists are responsible for most kidnappings in Syria since the summer of 2013, but government-backed militias, criminal gangs and rebels affiliated with the Western-backed Free Syrian Army also have been involved with various motives.An unprecedented spate of kidnappings by Islamic State militants starting in summer 2013 has kept most journalists away, particularly since the group began killing foreign journalists and aid workers it holds, starting with American journalist James Foley in August last year. Foley’s taped beheading was followed by the killing of American-Israeli journalist Steven Sotloff, British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning, American aid worker Peter Kassig, as well as Japanese nationals Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Goto.The group also has generated cash from ransoming European journalists.Often media don’t report abduction cases at the request of the families or employers. It’s not clear how many foreign and local journalists remain held in Syria, though the number likely is in the dozens. Comments Share Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility A Spanish Foreign Ministry official who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with policy regulations said the ministry is aware of the situation and is working on it, declining to elaborate. Gonzalez did not say whether the journalists were on assignment for specific media organizations.Aleppo is the scene of daily fighting. Government helicopters also regularly drop explosive barrels on rebel-held parts of the city.A missile attack on a rebel-held neighborhood in Aleppo killed at least 10 people and wounded many others Tuesday, two activist groups said.The Local Coordination Committees said the attack on the Maghayer neighborhood killed 10 people, including women and children.The Observatory for Human Rights said the attack killed 18 people and wounded more than 50. It said the surface-to-surface missile destroyed several houses in the area.It is not uncommon to have different death tolls in the aftermath of attacks in Syria, where the four-year conflict has killed more than 220,000 people.Meanwhile near the border with Lebanon, Syrian troops backed by Hezbollah fighters captured several neighborhoods in the mountain resort of Zabadani that has been under attack for nearly three weeks. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Elsa Gonzalez, the president of the Spanish journalism association, told Spanish National Television that the three disappeared while working in the Aleppo area. She said they entered Syria from Turkey on July 10.A statement from their families said the men had been missing since July 13.“An effort has been underway since then to search and locate them,” the families said.Sastre, a television journalist, last posted on Twitter July 10, when he wrote “courage” in Arabic, English and Spanish. Pampliega worked as a freelance reporter and his most recent work was from a trip to Syria earlier this year. It featured a story about Spaniards fighting with Kurds in Kobani against the Islamic State group. Spanish media identified Lopez as a photojournalist.Rami Abdurrahman, the director of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said late Tuesday that the journalists were last seen in a white van in the rebel-held Maadi district of Aleppo on July 13. The Observatory relies on a network of activists on the ground in Syria for its information.Once Syria’s commercial center, the city of Aleppo been carved up between government- and rebel-held neighborhoods since 2012, with government forces controlling much of western Aleppo and rebel groups in control of the east. MADRID (AP) — Three Spanish freelance journalists who traveled to Syria to report amid the country’s long-running civil war have gone missing around the embattled northern city of Aleppo, a Spanish journalism association said Tuesday, the latest ensnared in the world’s most dangerous assignment for reporters.The disappearance of Antonio Pampliega, Jose Manuel Lopez and Angel Sastre, presumed to be working together, comes as most media organizations have pulled out of Syria, especially with the rise of the extremist Islamic State group. At least 84 journalists have been killed since 2011 in Syria, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, while others remain missing or have been released for ransom. 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Hezbollah’s Al-Manar television station said troops and Lebanese militants have besieged rebels inside Zabadani from all sides, adding that they inflicted heavy casualties among them. It said dozens of fighters were wounded in the fighting.The Observatory said the Syrian government air force has dropped 36 barrel bombs on Zabadani since Tuesday morning. The Observatory reported that dozens of airstrikes have targeted Zabadani since the offensive began on July, 3.The capture of Zabadani would tighten Hezbollah’s grip on Syrian territories bordering Lebanon and strengthen the Syrian government’s control over of the Beirut-Damascus highway.___Karam reported from Beirut. Associated Press writers Bassem Mroue in Beirut and Jon Gambrell in Cairo contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: D.M The Classic Safari Company in conjunction with John Rendell, of Christian the Lion fame are set to embark on a sold-out safari tour through Kenya.Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Born Free, the wildlife enthusiast has joined with the company which he chose due to its professionalism and knowledge about Africa.The 10 day tour will include an up close and personal safari into Kenya escorted by John Rendall, and will visit areas including Lake Naivasha and Kora National Reserve.“This is an opportunity to see something a bit different in Kenya,” Mr Rendell said at the Classic Safari Company’s office in Sydney on Tuesday.Depending on the success of this one-off tour, the company says there maybe opportunity to re-run similar tours at a later stage.For further information: email@example.com
Media guru and S2i Communications chief executive, Wayne Tregaskis has passed away after a boating accident in Sydney late last week.His unexpected passing on 12 January 2012 has been described as a “tragic loss” by co-workers as he leaves behind a wife, Jenny Lourey and a legacy in Public Relations. “Wayne shall forever be remembered not only for the joy and laughter he has brought into all of our lives, but also for his generosity and strong business acumen,” S2i Communications account director Lyn Tan said in a statement. Although the Communications team will continue operations as usual, the company’s 19 January event has been cancelled. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J