Monti embraces dad of girl slain by school bomb

first_img New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Sponsored Stories Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Top Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Comments   Share   4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches The school was named after a judge, Francesca Morvillo Falcone, who died with her husband, anti-Mafia prosecutor Giovanni Falcone, in a 1992 highway bombing in Sicily by Cosa Nostra. Brindisi and other cities over the weekend were commemorating the 20th anniversary of the killing of the Falcones, leading to one possible hypothesis that organized crime carried out the school blast.The blast _ caused by the explosion of canisters of fuel apparently left in or near a trash bin by a school gate _ revived dark memories for many Italians of the 1970s and 1980s, when terrorists, anarchists and organized crime outfits carried out dozens of bloody attacks across the country.Italy’s justice minister, Paola Severino, said no motive has been ruled out in the probe of the blast, which is in the hands of a team of prosecutors specializing in organized crime and terrorism cases. Brindisi police said no one has been detained in the case.The bombing follows a spate of attacks against Italian officials and government or public buildings by anarchists, including the shooting and wounding of an official from a nuclear engineering firm, which is part of a state-controlled company. An anti-nuclear anarchist group that previously had targeted Italy’s tax collection agency claimed responsibility for the shooting. ROME (AP) – Italian Premier Mario Monti on Monday embraced the grieving father of a 16-year-old girl who was killed by a bomb blast outside her school in southern Italy.Monti left the NATO summit in Chicago a day early to attend the funeral of Melissa Bassi near Brindisi. A bomb exploded just as Bassi and other students were arriving for class Saturday at a vocational high school in the Adriatic port city.Bassi’s father clutched a photograph of his daughter to his chest and appeared inconsolable as Monti embraced him. The victim’s mother, still in shock from her loss, didn’t attend the church ceremony. Four other girls are hospitalized for severe burns and other wounds.last_img read more

Myanmar power protests put new reforms to the test

first_imgAssociated PressBANGKOK (AP) – Protests in Myanmar over persistent power shortages have provided a test of how the country’s elected but military-backed government will respond to rising expectations sparked by the past year’s democratic reforms.Small demonstrations over the last week in Myanmar’s two largest cities and several towns could be seen as an indicator of the new openness under President Thein Sein, who has overseen the country’s emergence from decades of authoritarian rule and diplomatic isolation. 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean From another point of view, the peaceful protests _ which have been limited to a few hundred people _ serve as a reminder of the early stages of past unrest. Previous uprisings have started as small affairs sparked by complaints over the economy and then snowballed into large-scale challenges to authority.In 2007, the former military regime used force to put down the so-called Saffron Revolution led by Buddhist monks. That rebellion began as small, localized protests over fuel price hikes.“Protests like this in Myanmar always have the potential to escalate and lead to political unrest,” said Trevor Wilson, a former Australian envoy to Myanmar who now teaches at Australian National University. “It is hard to predict how these protests might develop.”Thein Sein was prime minister of the previous repressive military government but shed his formal links with the army to run with its proxy political party in a 2010 general election. Those polls were boycotted by the party of democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was under house arrest at the time.Last year, Thein Sein embarked on a reform program whose main objective was to win the easing of economic sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union. That goal has already been largely accomplished. The challengers to the government are the same activists who used to struggle against military rule, but are now emboldened by the new democratic opening.Their antagonist is the same military that smashed their dreams five years ago. Though he came to power through election, Thein Sein heads a government that serves at the sufferance of the military, which together with its civilian allies controls parliament and security affairs.The immediate prospects for strife are hard to calculate. The protests have been peaceful and relatively unassertive so far, with the crowd in Yangon _ Myanmar’s biggest city _ topping out at about 300 on Friday night.The peaceful demonstrations continued for a fifth night Saturday in Yangon, though the number of protesters dropped to about 200. Truckloads of riot police looked on but did nothing.Out of habit, deliberation or misunderstanding, the authorities are clearly nervous. In the central city of Mandalay, Special Branch political police held several protesters briefly for questioning.On Thursday in the central town of Pyay, police pressure on demonstrators led to a brawl and six arrests. The angered comrades of those detained gathered outside the local prison until the detainees were released, then carried on protesting. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths “Police violence encountered during the protests against power cuts shows just how Burma continues to grossly neglect and violate the basic rights to human dignity and freedom of expression,” said the Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma), a group that feels reforms have fallen way short of what is desirable. “It is clear that peaceful dissent is still not tolerated.”Others are not so pessimistic.“The timing of these protests is interesting because the new laws about peaceful assembly are in place and the new government’s attitude is different from that of its predecessors,” said Australian National University’s Wilson. “One would expect both sides to be more reasonable and tolerant now, and early signs are that this seems to be the case.”Thein Sein’s reforms included the passage of a bill allowing citizens to stage peaceful demonstrations _ although still-existing security laws continue to put protesters at legal risk.Myanmar has suffered from power shortages for more than a decade. It has plentiful natural gas supplies, but a poor power distribution infrastructure that has lagged even more as the economy has grown. Sean Turnell, an economist at Australia’s Macquarie University, said he believes what is significant about the current protest movement is “how it highlights the way that economic reform, and the changes that need to be made to make life easier here for the great bulk of people, are seriously lagging.”Up to now, much of Myanmar’s natural gas has been earmarked for neighboring Thailand and China, he noted.“For the previous regime, domestic considerations and the lives of the citizenry (as well as domestic business) took a back seat to the desire to secure foreign exchange,” Turnell said. “The current government, I think, is hopeful of doing something better, but at the moment the legacy of the past is weighing on them.”___Associated Press writer Aye Aye Win in Yangon, Myanmar, contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Also as a result of the reforms, the government won the cooperation of Suu Kyi, the once-implacable foe of army rule and Nobel Peace Prize laureate who was freed after the 2010 elections. Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party even agreed to run for parliament in last month’s by-elections, snaring 43 seats to play a small but historically significant legislative role.Along with the revival of parliamentary politics there has been a new assertiveness in civil society, especially in lobbying on environmental issues. One campaign, opposing the Chinese-funded Myitsone hydropower dam on the Irrawaddy River, won an astonishing victory when the government announced the cancellation of the project.Still, the potential for conflict in Myanmar _ also known as Burma _ lies in the space between the political reforms achieved so far and the shortfall in other fundamental changes, particularly in the economy.Suu Kyi has endorsed the protests, which have seen demonstrators holding candlelight vigils and marching in public streets.Speaking Tuesday at the opening of a branch office for her party, Suu Kyi said “the country suffers from power shortages because of mismanagement. I believe that the system has to be changed to get electricity or to get water or to get jobs.” Top holiday drink recipescenter_img More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Top Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Sponsored Stories Four benefits of having a wireless security system Comments   Share   Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, familylast_img read more

Libyan officials US drones behind airport closure

first_img Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology “The drones are like bees,” he said, referring to the long hours the drones were seen, with their buzzing noise heard in different neighborhoods of Benghazi. Militias, known as brigades, fought regime forces during Libya’s eight-month civil war that led to Moammar Gadhafi’s fall last year. Since then, many have roles in keeping security, though they have not been integrated into government forces.An airport official confirmed the firing on the drones was the reason for the airport shutdown.U.S. officials said drones in Libya include Predators and Reapers, which are being used for surveillance and are largely unarmed. While drones have been there consistently, officials have increased their coverage and cycles. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak to the media.The American consulate in Benghazi came under deadly attack Tuesday night when angry mob and heavily armed Islamists demonstrating against a film denigrating Prophet Muhammad stormed the compound, setting the building on fire. Four Americans, including U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed.So far, the identity of the attackers is unknown, though Libyan leaders have vowed to work with the Americans in catching them. Authorities in Libya say they arrested four suspects linked to the attack. Haroun, however, said no one had been arrested and that the announcement is only for media consumption. Parents, stop beating yourself up Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Comments   Share   Along with drone surveillance, the U.S. has deployed an FBI investigation team, and a small surge of U.S. intelligence officers to try to track down al-Qaida sympathizers thought responsible for turning the demonstration into a violent militant attack.___Associated Press writers Maggie Michael in Cairo and Kimberly Dozier in Washington contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories Top Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement BENGHAZI, Libya (AP) – U.S. drones hovered over the eastern city of Benghazi on Friday and militia forces fired toward the crafts, prompting authorities to close the airport for several hours for fear a commercial aircraft could be hit, Libyan officials said.Abdel-Basit Haroun, the head of the militia in charge of city security, said the drones could easily be spotted from the ground. He says men angry over perceived foreign intervention fired in the air and authorities closed the airport. The vital role family plays in societylast_img read more

Bosnian survives car accident on a mined hillside

first_imgA friend of Dzeko’s, Hazim Mujcinovic, said Dzeko had no idea he was in a mined area and could have triggered a mine had he managed to get out. Mujcinovic said “a higher force” must have intervened.Mujcinovic said it took two days to find Dzeko and then hours of work by deminers to safely remove him.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories Top Stories TUZLA, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) – A Bosnia man is recovering in a hospital after veering off a windy mountain road in his car and rolling down a hillside still dotted with mines from the 1992-95 war.Rasim Dzeko’s car slid 50 meters (yards) off the road Tuesday before hitting a tree. The 40 year-old extricated himself from the car but then slid another 300 meters down a mined slope, getting stuck in a water hole for two days. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   center_img 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Daylast_img read more

Colombian man dies by euthanasia with government backing

first_imgBOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — A 79-year old man suffering from incurable throat cancer has become the first Colombian to die by euthanasia with the full backing of the government.Ovidio Gonzalez died Friday in the western city of Pereira after weeks of public feuding with doctors and hospital administrators over a Health Ministry decree mandating that clinics perform the procedure when requested by terminally ill patients. How do cataracts affect your vision? Mesa family survives lightning strike to home “I’m dying to travel,” answers his father, suitcases in hand.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 Comments   Share   Top Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Men’s health affects baby’s health too A Constitutional Court ruling 17 years ago made Colombia the first and still only country in Latin America, and one of just a handful worldwide, to allow euthanasia. But Congress never passed laws regulating the procedure, as the high court had ordered, and in April the Health Ministry intervened, providing the regulatory guidelines for insurers and hospitals.Religious groups and many doctors were outraged and the country’s conservative inspector general tried to block application of the new rules, which requires all hospitals to form medical committees to evaluate a patient’s request for euthanasia. The Roman Catholic church threatened to close the dozens of hospitals it runs in the country if required to carry out the procedures.Gonzalez is the first to die in accordance with the government decree. Until now, most assisted suicides were carried out at patients’ homes and performed semi-clandestinely by doctors in a state of legal limbo.Gonzalez was assisted in his battle for euthanasia by his son, Julio Cesar Gonzalez, a cartoonist for top-selling daily El Tiempo. Gonzalez, whose pen name is “Matador,” or “Killer,” bade farewell to his father in a cartoon Friday showing the grim reaper, scythe in hand, asking his father why his bags are packed. 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Centerlast_img read more

Rendezvous hotel Melbourne takes home accommodation award for excellen

first_imgSource = The landmark Rendezvous Hotel The landmark Rendezvous Hotel Melbourne was awarded Outstanding Marketed Hotel of the Year at the Australian Hotels Association (Victoria) Accommodation Awards on Friday 20 May, 2011. Held at the Grand Hyatt Melbourne, the event celebrates the leaders of excellence within Victoria’s tourism industry for the 2010-2011 period.It was a big night for Rendezvous Hotel Melbourne, which not only took home the award for Outstanding Marketed Hotel of the Year, but was also a finalist for the Superior Accommodation Hotel of the Year.  The Hotel’s employees were also recognised, with finalist nominations for Niall Blundell as the Front Office Service Employee of the Year and David West, who was nominated as Administration Employee of the Year.  “We are delighted to take home the Outstanding Marketed Hotel of the Year award, and are so proud of all of the staff, especially those finalists who work so diligently to ensure each guest’s stay is enjoyable in every aspect of the hotel,” said Alexander Billing, of Rendezvous Hotel Melbourne.Rendezvous Hotel Melbourne, which is managed by Rendezvous Hospitality Group, is one of the few grand hotels remaining in Australia. Seeped in travel history since it was built in 1913, the hotel was originally home to the Commercial Travellers Club. Since then, the 4.5 star heritage listed Rendezvous Hotel Melbourne has been meticulously restored to retain the feel and style of the classical 1900’s era, whilst at the same time providing guests with leading 21st century technology and facilities.last_img read more

More cracks found in Airbus A380

first_imgJust two weeks after tiny cracks were first reported in the wings of the double-decker aircraft, Airbus has reported that it has discovered more cracks in the wings of two A380 superjumbo aircraft. Despite the cracks Airbus is adamant that the world’s largest jetliner remains safe to fly, Reuters reported.”Airbus confirms that some additional cracks have been found on a limited number of non-critical brackets inside the wings of some A380s,” the planemaker revealed in a statement.”Airbus emphasizes that these cracks do not affect the safe operation of the aircraft.” The statement read. According to an Airbus spokesperson the cracks were found in two aircraft during a routine two year inspection, but did not reveal who the aircraft operators are.The European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA) is in talks with Airbus regarding the situation with regulators from other countries expected to follow EASA’s lead. Airbus has discovered more cracks on Airbus A380 wings Source = e-Travel Blackboard: S.Plast_img read more

Phone consultants added at ZUJI

first_imgTaking bookings back to basics, ZUJI has announced it is adding consultants into the travel pot as part of its new phone bookings feature.In addition to their online platform and effective this week, travellers can discuss packages, make a hotel reservation and book flights with ZUJI over the phone from Monday to Friday between 8.00am and 8.00pm and Saturday and Sunday between 9.00am to 5.00pm. As part of the over-the-phone offering the company has also promised that quotes will be all-inclusive with “no hidden charges… and no credit card fees”, a ZUJI statement read.The travel company also revealed in a statement that it has launched a new Seize a Room feature which will offer travellers the chance to grab an accommodation deal every Wednesday to Friday. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

Amadeus Offers cuts consultant workload by half

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: K.W Amadeus Offers has been described as a ‘first of a kind solution’ that will save travel consultants time in the management of pre-booking activities, quote handling, proposing alternatives and making and cancelling provisional bookings. Launched yesterday, the travel technology partner and transaction processor for the global travel and tourism industry, Amadeus, has revolutionised the way consultants work by using the GDS to automate the quote generation and conversion process. Utilising Amadeus Selling Platform, one of the most widely used front office application, Offers creates professional, easy-to-read offers that automatically include flight and hotel itineraries, pricing and mini-fare rules. Once generated, travel consultants then can easily email the quote to the traveller in a selected format to suit or through Amadeus online portal Checkmytrip. Also once the client confirms to book, the conversion from a quote to a booking can be done in a single transaction, avoiding the need to perform the entire search flow again. Consultants can instantly retrieve the offer from the PNR (searching by name or booking reference) and validate the fare and costs before converting it into a booking. As no airline inventory is held, there is no need to cancel rejected offers, which automatically expire after 30 days. “Amadeus Offers is a revolution for travel agents,” Amadeus IT Pacific managing director Sari Vahakoski said of the time saving solution that helps to improve customer service and agency ability to report on pre-booking trends. “It provides a central, cross-channel facility to manage pre-booking functions and can store up to 20 saved quotes, or offers, inside a single easy-to-retrieve Amadeus Passenger Name Record (PNR). “It will help travel agents to dramatically improve operational efficiency and boost revenue – a must have for travel agents in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Region.”last_img read more

Jetstar scraps 300 flights

first_imgJetstar’s Auckland-Wellington route has suffered hundreds of cancellations in May and June.The Australian low-cost-carrier cancelled 300 flights owing to low demand on specific routes, the Dominion Post reported.Jetstar spokesperson Phil Boyens said the airline had decided to cancel the services instead of reducing the cost of flights, as they were already low.“It’s [Auckland-Wellington] the busiest route in New Zealand and it’s a very competitive route,” Mr Boyens said.“Last year we increased capacity by about a third in New Zealand, which is 600,000 seats, so this is the first season, if you like, that we’ve had that large capacity in the market.”Mr Boyens added that no decision to cut back on any routes permanently had been made.Source = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T. Majority of cancellations occurring in NZ.last_img read more

ACCC flush out fake reviews

first_imgThe new guidance has set out three core business conduct principles; transparency surrounding commercial relationships, no publishing of misleading reviews, no omitting of negative reviews. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) have released a best practice guide, in order to crack down on “unscrupulous businesses” taking advantage of consumer trust. “Fake online reviews mislead consumers and hurt Australian businesses… businesses that pay for or post fake reviews can gain an unfair advantage or damage their rivals,” ACCC deputy chair Michael Schaper said.  Source = ETB News: P.T. “Australian consumers have more choice than ever before… however, with more options available, it is important that there is accurate and reliable information available to help consumers choose.”center_img The ACCC may issue penalties of up to AU$1.1 million against businesses caught in breach of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 and plan to continue to monitor review activity online. Online reviews assist consumers in making informed decisions, based on a variety of third party consumer opinion, with 74 percent of social media users admitting to reading online reviews before making purchases, according to Sensis’ Social Media Report 2013. The new guidance addresses misleading conduct related to bogus online reviews and was created through extensive consultation with a wide range of consumer and industry representatives.last_img read more

Sydneysiders can now arrive depart airport in style

first_imgSydney Airport now has its own limousines desk for travellers to come and go in style.  The biggest influx of new bookings for limousines has been from Chinese tourists, with a 20 per cent increase in bookings for Chinese New Year.  The opening of the limousine desk is the result of five years of work negotiating with Sydney Airport.  The Royale Limousines Premium Customer Service Centre in the Arrivals Hall in Terminal 1 opened with fanfare yesterday. “Already, there has been a 10 per cent growth in enquiries since the desk’s soft opening in December 2013,” Royale Limousines managing director, John Bartolotta said.  Passengers will now be able to transit without a hitch between the airport and the 10 bay undercover parking area next to the terminal.  “Consumers are becoming more aware of how reliable and affordable a limousine transfer can be. “Markets using the desk are inbound tourists wanting to get to their hotel, as well as tourists booking a chauffeured car on an hourly basis for a scenic tour.” Source = ETB News: T.N.last_img read more

Perths first Emirates A380 set to arrive tonight

first_imgWestern Australia will today welcome its first A380 service with the Emirates A380 arriving at Perth International Airport later this evening.From today, the double-decker A380 will carry up 982 passengers each day between Perth and Dubai.Emirates divisional vice president commercial operations, Australia, Rob Gurney said the airline is pleased to provide this new service for Perth travellers and visitors to the city.“After much anticipation Emirates is pleased to now be able to offer Perth residents the opportunity to travel on an A380 service non-stop to Dubai, and potentially onward with another A380 connection to more than 33 other destinations on our global network,” Mr Gurney said.The crew on board the first A380 flight, which is due to arrive at 17:35 tonight, will include Perth-born pilot of over 19 years, Captain Steve Darnell.Mr Darnell said it is an honour to be flying the inaugural Emirates A380 into his home city.“It’s a world-class aircraft to fly, and its spacious and quiet cabins also make it also very comfortable to fly in,” Mr Darnell said.“The many features onboard Emirates’ A380s will ensure passengers have the perfect journey when travelling to or from Dubai.”Passengers on board the A380 will be entertained with over 2,000 channels on offer through Emirates’ ice entertainment system.The aircraft arriving in Perth tonight consists of three classes: 401 Economy Class seats, 76 mini-pods in Business Class and 14 First Class Private Suites.The Perth A380 service will operate daily, departing Dubai at 02:55 and arriving in Perth at 17:35 on the same day.The return flight will depart Perth International Airport at 22:10 and arrive in Dubai the next day at 05:25.In correlation with the A380’s arrival, Emirates is investing further in the Western Australian market with an expanded lounge at Perth Airport.The lounge, opening later this year, will cater for the increase in passengers expected to travel on the A380 service.Source = ETB Travel News: Brittney Levinsonlast_img read more

PO revamps its entertainment program

first_imgP&O has announced it is revamping its onboard entertainment program to incorporate four new party concepts, including Bianco, a top deck white party.From June this year, Bianco the P&O White Party will dazzle guests as the top deck transforms into an all-white party with smoke cannons, snow effects, white cocktails and live music.P&O Cruises entertainment director Brett Annable said Bianco is set to be a cruise highlight.“Inspired by the world’s superclubs and what’s trending in modern Australian venues, Bianco will be the party to be seen at,” Mr Annable said.“The next big thing in cruise entertainment, it will be much more than a party – it will be a special event and we think it will fast become the most popular night onboard our ships.”All ages are welcomed to the party, however, there will also be dedicated events for younger cruisers.The new entertainment program also features a 1920s Gatsby-themed evening, a retro Back to School party and afternoon Vegas parties complete with a poolside DJ, cocktails and beach balls.Each P&O Cruise of three nights or more will feature the Bianco party and cruises of four nights or more will offer the Gatsby-themed and Back to School events.Mr Annable also revealed a new Grammys-inspired stage show will be introduced as part of the entertainment revamp.“Off the Charts has a contemporary look and feel – it’s more of a concert than a musical,” he said.“We’ve even brought in several choreographers so each piece of music is totally separate and has a different feel,” he said.Source = ETB Travel News: Brittney Levinsonlast_img read more

Silverneedle Hospitality launches new rewards program

first_imgThe hospitality company behind Brisbane’s latest 5-star property, NEXT Hotel Brisbane, has launched a brand new rewards program.Silverneedle Hospitality announced the launch of the new program at an event in Brisbane on Friday last week.Silverneedle Select is a new innovative program that aims to stand out from the rest of hotel rewards programs.It is targeted towards the professional and leisure lifestyles of the modern business traveller, by encouraging those who book direct.There is no joining fee, and it operates on a robust digital platform that allows guests to interact with the hospitality company whenever, wherever and on whatever device the consumer wants.The program uses no membership cards as it 100 per cent digital and eco-friendly, which also ensures instant confirmation on redeeming rewards.A range of partners has come on board to participate in the program, these range from petrol stations to retail giants Myer and David Jones.Silverneedle Hospitality group chief executive officer and managing director Iqbal Jumabhoy, said the program is very innovative and unique.“This rewards program gives the power to the consumer, it doesn’t use membership cards which allows the customer to redeem instantly and straight to their phones, it really is an innovative product,” Mr Jumabhoy said.SIlverneedle Select is available across all of the hospitality company’s brands and goes live later this year.Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wisemanlast_img read more

New Zealand wins worlds best destination and heres why

first_imgJaw dropping Milford SoundThe poster child for the South Island, Milford Sound is unbelievably scenic and worth every bit of the hype surrounding it. Imagine, towering cliffs rising out of the water, a dense canopy of forest shrouded in mist after the rain, and the most majestic snow-capped mountain at the heart of it all, looming over you at 5,560 feet. The drive there is equally as breathtaking, with waterfalls, gorges and craggy mountain ridges as far as the eye can see. Photo Credit: Flickr/Chris GinFor the fourth consecutive year New Zealand has been voted top dog at this year’s Telegraph Travel Awards in the UK, taking out the title of the world’s best destination and proving NZ has truly won the hearts of the Brits.To celebrate, Skyscanner has shared some of the reasons why everyone loves the land of the long white cloud.From the truly unique experiences on offer to the breathtaking scenery, New Zealand is the whole package and here’s why Kiwi’s should be exploring more of what’s on their doorstep: Paradise for powderhoundsNew Zealand offers a truly unique skiing experience. Here, snow falls above the treeline, meaning there is little to no foliage as you carve your way down the slope and you have an unobstructed view as the mountains descend to the valley floor. It’s a sight to make you stop and catch your breath.Want to turn up the heat when it comes to skiing or snowboarding? Mount Ruapehu also happens to be one of the world’s most active volcanoes. If you have nerves of steel… or like your snowsports with a healthy dose of fear, grab your gear and remember to stay on piste! Aside from skiing on an active volcano, the resort also has the longest vertical drop in Australasia – a 722m descent on the south-western slopes of the Tuora area.Image credit: SkyscannerSeriously, seriously photogenicThrow open the doors to this enchanted wardrobe and be transported. We’re Narnia and Middle Earth at the same time, with a bit of 19th century Japan on the side. That’s right – when New Zealand is not busy doubling up as a magical kingdom for hobbits, cursed rings, anthropomorphic lions and fauns, it makes for a pretty convincing slice of Japanese countryside. The Last Samurai was filmed here, with Mount Taranaki serving as Mount Fuji.Image credit: SkyscannerAs fresh as it getsNew Zealand punches above its weight when it comes to culinary prowess. Quality, award winning produce has earned this country its place in the big leagues, whether its fruit sourced from the Bay of Plenty or seafood caught fresh off the Kiwi coast. The journey from farm to fork is a quick one. A little fun fact – New York better watch this space because Wellington has more restaurants and cafes per capita than the city that never sleeps!center_img Snake freeImage credit: SkyscannerNo snakes here, just penguins.Snakes are more commonly found than lizards and yet, New Zealand is one of several countries without a native snake population! You’re free to roam this country’s natural wonders without the overhanging threat of venomous, slithering creatures. This is particularly impressive when you consider our neighbour across the Tasman, unfortunately ridden with killer creepy crawlies Visit New ZealandSource = Skyscannerlast_img read more

Taste of Japan Yummy Fun Truck Hitting the Streets of Melbourne

first_imgTaste of Japan: Yummy Fun Truck Hitting the Streets of MelbourneTo celebrate the launch of direct Qantas flights from Melbourne to Tokyo Narita, Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) is initiating an experiential campaign that will bring a special Japan-inspired icy treat to the Melbourne streets this summer: The Taste of Japan Yummy Fun Truck.Working with the geniuses at Gelato Messina, JNTO has created a part ice cream truck, part game show experience which gives a nod to Japan’s amazing culture.Not only can lucky punters sample some incredible Japan inspired free ice cream, they will also have the chance to win one of five amazing holidays for two people to Japan courtesy of Qantas. To win, participants have to take part in a Japanese inspired game show and take their chances at the Yummy Fun Truck vending machine.Last year, JNTO asked fans to share their experiences, memories and stories from Japan through a social media and radio campaign. Gelato Messina used these insights to develop eight amazing and unusual flavour combinations, from Make My Dai Dai to Wasa-Berri. Each weekend, the Taste of Japan Yummy Fun Truck will have four different flavours on offer. Japan is one of the hottest destinations for the people of Melbourne right now, and the Taste of Japan Yummy Fun Truck is sure to inspire even more Melburnians to try out the real Japan for themselves.JNTO Sydney Office Executive Director, Mariko Tatsumi, said: “We wanted to creatively inspire people to experience Japan for themselves, going beyond a straight advertising campaign. Our desire is to surprise and delight audiences with a taste of Japan.”She added “Japan is a cultural playground; its eclectic experiences and mouth-watering flavours tell an incredible story. We can’t wait to see the public reaction to the Taste of Japan Yummy Fun Truck, which will be a guaranteed highly entertaining and memorable experience.”Stephanie Tully, Qantas Executive Manager Brand and Marketing, said the ice cream truck was a fun way to raise awareness for the new route and give customers a taste of the eclectic Japanese food culture.“We are delighted to work with JNTO to celebrate our new daily direct route. The Taste of Japan Yummy Fun Truck is a unique way to showcase some of the distinct flavours and ingredients of Japanese cuisine and we look forward to helping inspire more Melburnians experience Japan for themselves.”The Taste of Japan Yummy Fun Truck will visit multiple locations in Melbourne starting at Southern Cross Station on Sunday 19 February and visiting different hotspots every weekend until Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 March. JNTOfor more information, visitSource = Japan National Tourism Organizationlast_img read more

TravelManagers business model allows more client and family time

first_imgTravelManagers’ business model allows more client and family timeTravelManagers’ Business Model Allows More Client & Family TimeAfter numerous years in a traditional retail travel environment, it was the commission structure and flexibility that TravelManagers’ home-based consulting offered that attracted husband and wife team Ian Long and Shani Driver representative for Bridges in Queensland, to join the company.“Flexibility, work life balance and limitless financial opportunities were our three key drivers for becoming a home-based personal travel manager and TravelManagers has catered perfectly to all of these needs. Their business model has left us in control of our own destiny and enables us to financially and effectively work within an ever increasing and competitive market. We have the flexibility to provide the personal service our clients deserve, yet have the support to help grow our client base locally while having access to competitive prices and commissions,” says Long.Having the time to really go the extra mile for clients is a key driver for the personal travel managers.“The commission structure at TravelManagers isn’t capped so the goal posts do not move with the more you earn. This has enabled us to earn a fantastic salary, in fact we do less bookings and earn more. We can now spend more time with our clients providing tailor made itineraries and the service they deserve, we have extra time for our family and time to enjoy the benefits of being a travel professional.  We now attend famils and are completely comfortable taking the time off to continue to learn about travel, knowing that we are not at all disadvantaged financially,” says Driver.Nearly three years on and Long and Driver haven’t looked back.“We were recently sitting having breakfast at Brisbane Airport awaiting to pick up our client returning from a cruise. It was a beautiful day, we were in shorts and t-shirts and took time to reflect back to our previous life. It would have been our usual 8.30am morning meeting being drilled by our team leader on how we were going to make six bookings that day. Instead we are in our shorts, having coffee and providing our client with the extra personal service that is so important to us. Although we’ve worked hard to get here, we also appreciate the life that TravelManagers has given us. Without their business model, we would probably still be in those morning meetings!”Long had spent time researching the company prior to making the move.“After studying the company online and observing the backing of House of Travel my initial perception was this is a company who cares about its profits and its consultants wages at the same time. Now from experience my wife and I can both testify it has the balance right and continues to move with the industry to look after both itself and the personal travel managers it supports.”TravelManagers Executive General Manager Michael Gazal, says Long and Driver epitomize exactly what TravelManagers is about.“Ian and Shani are absolute professionals with a strong focus on customer service and experience which is reflective of the quality and professionalism of all of our 500 plus personal travel managers across Australia.”Gazal confirms the demand for the personal travel manager concept is strong.“Our company philosophies further cement TravelManagers’ standing in the industry and naturally we are seeing more interest from travel agency owners and managers to join our business model.”Gazal further adds, “When you’re dealing with a personal travel manager you’re dealing with the boss. They’re local, motivated and well informed. That’s why they’re proving to be so popular with both leisure and corporate clients and also why the personal travel manager model is so attractive to travel consultants. They work under their own steam, when and where they choose, achieve greater flexibility for family and social life and in addition to the remuneration being very attractive.”TravelManagers is well on its way to reaching the 550 personal travel managers milestone.“Moving to TravelManagers was my most successful move in my business career to date. And with over 500 personal travel managers within the group, you can’t argue with that,” says Long. TravelManagersSource = TravelManagerslast_img read more

Centara goes wild at Lost World Party

first_imgSource = Centara Hotels and Resorts Centara goes wild at Lost World PartyCentara goes wild at Lost World Party Centara Hotels and Resorts enjoyed a successful two-day exhibition at the 2018 Thailand Travel Mart.The famous annual Centara party went off with a bang at the 5-star Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort in Pattaya.Themed the Lost World Party to match the resort, all key global partners were invited with 200 people letting their hair down and going wild in all sorts of jungle and lost world themed attire.“We were so pleased to have so many of our key Australian and New Zealand partners attend our event at what is a truly ‘out of this world’ Centara Resort,” Australian and New Zealand representative for Centara Hotels & Resorts Charlie Ridout said.“As always, the Antipodeans were the last ones to leave! It was a fitting ending to one of the best TTM in the last few years.”There was no shortage of entertainment with models dressed in jungled themed outfits, Thai cabaret and plenty of dance routines and fire-twirling performances throughout the night.Guests were treated to a buffet of traditional Thai dishes, desserts and a range of cocktails made by professional Centara bar staff, which showcased the amazing food on offer at the Centara Grand Mirage.last_img read more

The Rees Hotel Queenstown announces bold expansion plan

first_imgThe Rees Hotel Queenstown announces bold expansion planThe Rees Hotel Queenstown announces bold expansion planThe Rees Hotel Queenstown is to be the centrepiece of a strategy to develop a chain of boutique hotels showcasing an authentic New Zealand experience. From the 12th of October 2018 The Rees Management Ltd (TRML), the manager of The Rees Hotel Queenstown, New Zealand, will be sold to interests associated with Pioneer Capital and current TRML board members Mark Rose and Bruce Davidson. Pioneer was attracted to the successful leadership, established culture and management of The Rees Hotel Queenstown and will leverage these assets as the key ingredients in their development strategy.Pioneer Capital is a New Zealand investment firm focused on investing in high value export-led businesses. The management sale and development plan will enable growth and future security of supply of guest numbers for The Rees Hotel, carefully targeted at the high-end international tourism market. TRML will continue to be the manager of The Rees Hotel and the entire management team and all staff will be retained. Mark Rose will continue as the CEO and the Board of Directors will comprise Bruce Davidson (Chairman), Mike Pohio (Independent Director), Randal Barrett and Shayne Shepherd (Pioneer) and Mark Rose.Mr Rose says, “We are excited to implement this strategic move which has been in the planning for some time. We aim to become a boutique New Zealand hotel company with around five hotels on the tourist route each reflecting their unique ‘place’, with the same culture and high touch service that we are proud to offer at The Rees Hotel Queenstown.”Mr Barrett commented, “Mark and his team have built an exceptional tourism offering in The Rees, and we are delighted to be partnering with them as they expand the product to address increasing inbound demand.”The Rees Hotel Queenstown opened in 2009, comprises 60 hotel rooms, 90 apartments and five Lakeside Residences and is located on the shores of Lake Wakatipu with spectacular views over the lake to the Remarkables mountains. The independent, stylish, luxury property has consistently been internationally recognized and awarded for excellence including receiving New Zealand Tourism’s top Qualmark 5 Star Hotel & Gold Business Tourism Sustainability Award in 2018 and ‘Best NZ Hotel’ two year’s running (2017 /18), in the Australasian Hotel Management Awards of Excellence. Along with awards for service, for its fine dining restaurant True South, executive chef Ben Batterbury and for its wine list, the hotel is also a leader in community service and sustainability initiatives, constantly striving to maintain and further develop the high standards it has set in the New Zealand hospitality industry.The management share sale and resulting development plan will be a very exciting opportunity for all parties and will provide benefits for apartment owners, management and staff and provide certainty of ownership and supply of capital. Source = The Rees Hotel Queenstownlast_img read more