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Monthly Archive: August 2019

Novelist Carlos Fuentes dies at 83

first_imgNo related posts. From the print editionBy Jennifer González | AFPMEXICO CITY – Hundreds of Mexicans bade farewell to late novelist Carlos Fuentes on Wednesday, carrying books and flowers as they filed past the casket of one of the Spanish-speaking world’s best-known writers.During a public ceremony at the grand Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City, President Felipe Calderón hailed Fuentes as “one of the greatest writers of all time.”“He helped give global prominence to Latin-American literature,” the Mexican president said.Fuentes, the son of a diplomat, was born in Panama City on Nov. 11, 1928. He spent parts of his childhood in the South American cities of Quito, Montevideo and Rio de Janeiro, and was enrolled in a U.S. public school when his father was transferred to Washington, D.C.Standing in front of the casket next to Calderón were the writer’s widow, Silvia Lemus, and Cecilia, his only surviving child, born from his first marriage to actress Rita Macedo.A crowd of people queued outside for a chance to file past the casket inside the palace.“I still can’t believe it, he was so close to me with his books my whole life,” said a teary-eyed Raúl Acosta, a 40-year-old psychologist, after viewing the casket.Brenda Negrete, 28, said she was now a “political orphan.”“We will miss his political opinions, especially for these elections,” she said, referring to the July 1 presidential and legislative ballots in Mexico.Fuentes died in the Mexican capital Tuesday at age 83 after suffering a massive hemorrhage in his digestive tract.The novelist’s remains will be cremated and his ashes buried at the Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris, where two of his children – Carlos and Natasha – are buried, local media reported.“I feel at home in Paris, very happy and surrounded by beauty,” Fuentes said in a recent interview.The prolific writer authored more than 50 works, including novels, short stories, essays and plays.He was a leading figure in the 1960s Latin American literature boom, befriending both Colombian leftist Gabriel García Márquez and Peruvian conservative Mario Vargas Llosa, and was known for criticizing both the harsh side of capitalism and the tough realities of communism.“I met him 50 years ago,” Vargas Llosa said in a Twitter message upon learning of Fuentes’ death, “and we were friends all that time without anything ever impoverishing that friendship.”Fuentes also was known for his use of experimental language.Visibly shaken, Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard hailed his late friend, “who will always remain in the Mexican soul.”“Fuentes was a great seducer who used only one weapon: the word,” said Federico Reyes Heroles, a writer who read a tribute message at the family’s request.“Carlos embodied the idea of bringing Mexico into the world and the world to Mexico.”Fuentes published his first collection of short stories, “Masked Days,” under the guidance of his father Rafael.In 1958, when he was 30, he achieved international fame with “The Most Transparent Region,” a portrayal of Mexico City’s explosive growth.The novel “The Death of Artemio Cruz” (1967) won Fuentes both critical and public acclaim and became his best-known work.He scored a new literary success with “Terra Nostra,” a novel on the complex cultural issues of the Iberian and Latin American worlds, for which he was awarded the prestigious Romulo Gallegos prize in 1977.Other prizes followed, including the Cervantes (1987), the Rubén Darío (1988) and the Prince of Asturias (1994).His 1985 novel “Old Gringo,” about the disappearance of U.S. writer Ambrose Bierce during the Mexican Revolution, was a best-seller in the United States and became a 1989 Hollywood movie starring Gregory Peck and Jane Fonda.Fuentes’ 1987 “Cristóbal Nonato” examined the then-upcoming 500th anniversary in 1992 of the arrival of the Spanish in the Americas.His intellectual curiosity led him to write “This I Believe” (2002), on his ideological and literary beliefs.“The Eagle’s Chair” (2003) imagined the outlines of Mexico’s future, and “Against Bush” (2004) was a collection of his articles skewering former U.S. President George W. Bush.“You have to take some time out to be able to give literature the attention it deserves, for journalism, for speaking, for friendship. I cannot be cloistered like a monk because I would lose contact with human beings, with life,” Fuentes told AFP in a 2003 interview.Unlike his contemporaries, though, Fuentes never won a Nobel Prize in literature, although for years he was said to be on the short list.Fuentes’ travels helped shape his leftist political views and fueled his passion for political activism.Like many Latin American intellectuals of his era, for years, Fuentes was fascinated by the Cuban revolution and leftist rebel movements. But over time, his opinions grew more nuanced.“Cuba is worthy of condemnation, and so is the United States,” he was quoted as saying.Fuentes was appointed Mexico’s ambassador to France in the 1970s, an assignment that lasted only two years.Fuentes supported the election of conservative president Vicente Fox in 2000, which ended the seven-decade rule of Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party.“In the Americas, we sometimes don’t realize democracy takes a long time to cook, maybe because we are used to abrupt decisions and heavy blows typical of dictatorships,” he said in 2001.“RIP Carlos my friend,” Booker Prize-winning British author Salman Rushdie said on Twitter.Mexican author Xavier Velasco, who said he had dinner with Fuentes just days ago, said: “I firmly believe that he is the greatest novelist Mexico has ever produced and also the one with the best sense of humor.” The late author is survived by his second wife, journalist Silvia Lemus, and a daughter from his first marriage to the late actress Rita Macedo. His two children from his marriage with Lemus, a son and a daughter, both died before him. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Apple tops profit estimates as it wards off smartphone assault

first_imgSAN FRANCISCO, California — Apple Inc., maker of the iPhone and iPad, reported third-quarter profit and sales that beat analysts’ estimates, spurring optimism that the company is weathering an attack from low-end smartphone competition.Earnings were $7.47 a share in the period, which ended June 29, the Cupertino, California-based company said Tuesday in a statement. Analysts had predicted $7.30 on average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Sales rose to $35.3 billion, topping the estimate of $35 billion.The results bolstered the view that Apple can withstand increased competition and saturation in the smartphone market, which have threatened to drag the company into a prolonged slump. Apple earns margins of 50 percent or more on the iPhone 5, almost twice the level of rival models. Investor concern that the company was losing that edge contributed to a 31 percent stock decline over the past year.“We are more encouraged about Apple’s ability to sustain healthy profits over the near and medium term,” Keith Bachman, an analyst at BMO Capital Markets in New York, said in a report before the earnings were released.Apple shares rose as much as 4.7 percent to $438.88 in extended trading after the results were released. They closed at $418.99 earlier in New York. Even after the decline this year, the company has a higher market valuation than any other technology business.The company sold 31.2 million units of the iPhone, its best-selling and most profitable product. Analysts had estimated 26.1 million on average. Apple’s gross margin, the percentage of sales left after subtracting production costs, was 36.9 percent, compared with the company’s target of 36 percent to 37 percent.Sales of the iPad fell 14 percent from the prior year to 14.6 million. Consumers are holding off on purchasing the tablet as they wait for new models later this year, said Ben Evans, an analyst at Enders Analysis in London. Apple forecast sales of $34 billion to $37 billion for the current quarter, compared with an average estimate of $37 billion.The company, which pioneered the market for touch-screen smartphones in 2007, has seen Google’s Android platform gobble up much of the market. Android captured 70 percent of global mobile operating-system sales at the end of first quarter, compared with 17 percent for Apple’s iOS, according to IDC. Samsung, Asia’s biggest technology company, was the No. 1 Android vendor with 41 percent of that market.Even so, Apple has maintained its hold on the high end of the market — especially with U.S. buyers. Its challenge now is developing a cheaper version of the iPhone that can compete with Android for cost-conscious shoppers, said Horace Dediu, an analyst at Asymco, a research company in Finland.“I’ve been waiting for them to do it for years,” Dediu said.Slowing sales and profit growth also have put pressure on Apple to push into new product categories. The company has more than 100 employees working on a wristwatch-like device, people familiar with the matter said earlier this year. In addition, Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook has said the company is considering television products that go beyond its current Apple TV set-top box.© 2013, Bloomberg News Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

PHOTO REPORT Fishing net kills humpback whale in Costa Ricas Corcovado National

first_imgPark rangers found deep rope marks and pieces of fishing net on the body of a juvenile humpback whale that washed onto the shores of Costa Rica’s Corcovado National Park, on the Osa Peninsula in the southern region, on Monday. A park guide spotted the dead whale from a boat in the remote Punta la Chancha section of the park.“Its entire tail was wrapped in the type of cords that are used in a trammel net,” Eliecer Arce, the park’s administrator, told The Tico Times. “I am positive that this was the cause of death.”Though the body of the whale was found within the boundaries of the park, the protected area only extends for the first 500 meters of ocean outside of Corcovado. According to Arce, the fishing boat was likely outside of the park limits, where trammel nets are legal, when it ensnared the whale.Punta la Chancha is difficult to reach and park rangers will not be able to move or bury the whale’s body. That portion of the park is currently closed to tourists and will remain so for the month it will take for the whale to decompose.Trammel and gill nets pose the biggest bycatch threat to whales and other large marine mammals according to the World Wildlife Foundation. Trammel nets are legal in most of Costa Rica’s coastal territory.   A fishing net left deep marks in the whale’s skin. Photo courtesy of Hayder Santamaría and Corcovado National Park A park guide spotted the dead whale from a boat while entering the park. Courtesy of Álvaro Montoya and Corcovado National Park This juvenile whale was found dead Monday in Corcovado National Park. Courtesy of Álvaro Montoya and Corcovado National Park Facebook Comments Park rangers estimate it will take at least a month for the whale’s body to decompose. Courtesy of Álvaro Montoya and Corcovado National Park No related posts.last_img read more

FIFA Blatter tells Putin he has complete trust in Russian World Cup

first_imgMOSCOW — Sepp Blatter, the outgoing president of football’sbesieged governing body, told Vladimir Putin that FIFA has “complete trust” in Russia’s ability to host the 2018 World Cup.“We say ‘yes’ to Russia,” Blatter said during a meeting with the Russian leader near St. Petersburg on Saturday. “Our support is especially important during the current geopolitical situation,” Blatter said.The meeting was held just hours before FIFA picked the preliminary draw for most of its confederations at Konstantinovsky Palace near Putin’s hometown. It’s the first time Blatter has left Switzerland since seven current and former football officials were arrested in Zurich in May. Blatter announced plans to step down days after winning a fifth term. Elections to replace him will be held in February.Much of FIFA’s troubles stem from the awarding of World Cup rights in 2010, when Russia and Qatar were selected to host the next two tournaments. The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating what it says are more than two decades of “rampant” corruption, while Swiss prosecutors have opened a criminal probe of the group.Putin has criticized the investigations as an attempt to undo Russia’s selection as host of the world’s most-watched sporting event for the first time. The U.S. and its allies slapped sanctions on Russia last year for annexing Crimea from Ukraine and supporting an armed uprising in two mainly Russian-speaking regions on its border.“As promised,” Putin told Blatter on Saturday, “we will do all we can for sportsmen and fans alike to feel at home here.”© 2015, Bloomberg News Facebook Comments Related posts:Blatter wins FIFA vote amid corruption storm FIFA’s Blatter shocked by US anti-corruption tactics FIFA denies Blatter deputy approved $10 million payment FIFA-Gate: Just days after his re-election, Blatter resignslast_img read more

March in north Spain backs return of ETA prisoners

first_imgMADRID (AP) – Tens of thousands of people marched in the northern city of Bilbao calling for prisoners from armed Basque separatist group ETA to serve out their sentences in their native region rather than in jails in other parts of Spain.Around 100,000 people marched after a National Court judge gave permission for the demonstration to take place late Saturday.Organizers had called for the march to be silent but participants chanted prisoners’ names loudly. Police said Sunday the march was peaceful. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments   Share   Top Stories center_img Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement ETA has killed 829 people since the late 1960s in bombings and shootings to force the creation of a Basque homeland in northern Spain and southwest France.ETA announced a definitive cease-fire in 2011, but hasn’t handed over its weapons.(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Quick workouts for men New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top holiday drink recipeslast_img read more

Niger passes law to stem human smuggling

first_img Comments   Share   Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories NIAMEY, Niger (AP) — Niger has adopted a law that could see human smugglers facing up to 30 years in prison in an effort to stem the flow of illegal immigrants crossing its borders in hopes of getting to Europe.The parliament adopted the law Monday, said National Assembly Secretary-General Boubacar Tiemogo on Wednesday.A person could face 20 to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to 30 million CFA Francs ($51,000) if there are aggravating circumstances such as smuggling a pregnant woman or children, he said Wednesday. If a smuggler has helped migrants obtain illegal papers, they might face a prison sentence between five and 12 years, along with a fine of up to $5,000, he added. Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Thousands of people trying to get to Europe in hopes of a better life are being smuggled through Niger on the way to Libya. Many die crossing the deserts, or by sea. More than 10,000 people have been plucked from the Mediterranean off Libya in the last month and 1,700 are feared dead.Traffickers operate networks that provide all sorts of services to smuggle people across borders, including illegal papers for transport by land and sea.“This does not prevent legal migrants from crossing Niger. Those who have legal papers for traveling can cross Niger,” said Zakari Oumarou, the deputy representative for the president’s party in parliament.Justice Minister Marou Amadou said Monday after the law was passed it gives Niger the legal means to punish those profiting from smuggling, while protecting migrants’ rights. He also said it is meant to increase international cooperation.The European Union is on Wednesday to unveil a plan to confront the challenges posed by the massive influx of migrants. According to a draft of the text obtained by The Associated Press, the EU wants to establish a pilot system in Niger to screen migrants, help provide local protection for them and work out resettlement opportunities for those in need. Deploying EU migration attaches to Libya’s neighbors and other African countries is among other proposals. Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories 5 treatments for adult scoliosislast_img read more

Winners and losers 5 takeaways from Mexico midterm vote

first_imgMEXICO CITY (AP) — Here are five things to know about Mexico’s midterm elections, seen as a referendum on President Enrique Pena Nieto’s government halfway through his six-year mandate.RULING PARTY TAKES CONGRESSPena Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, took the largest percentage of the vote. Together with two allied parties, the PRI coalition is expected to control a majority with as many as 263 seats in the 500-person Congress. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Sponsored Stories 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches NEW KID ON THE BLOCKJust a year after being officially recognized, the Morena party founded by Lopez Obrador took about 8.5 percent of the vote and will have its first-ever representation in Congress.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility 0 Comments   Share   Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of THE “BRONCO” TAKES NORTHERN STATEJaime Rodriguez, an independent candidate better known as “El Bronco,” is a tough-talking cowboy type who ousted the PRI to become governor of the key northern state of Nuevo Leon, which border Texas. His win is a first for Mexico, made possible by a reform last year allowing people not affiliated with parties to run. Rodriguez’s maverick persona resonated with voters fed up with the establishment, and he says his first priority will be fighting corruption.LEFTIST OPPOSITION PARTY TAKES A BATHThe opposition Democratic Revolution Party won less than 11 percent of ballots and stands to lose up to a dozen seats, after two-time presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador split with the party and effectively divided the left-wing vote.FROM THE SOCCER PITCH TO THE MAYOR’S OFFICEPreliminary results have Cuauhtemoc Blanco, the recently retired national soccer hero, winning election as mayor of the city of Cuernavaca, outside the Mexican capital. It’s the first foray into politics for Blanco, 42, and his lack of experience has raised doubts among some. Known for his combative temperament on the field, Blanco didn’t disappoint as he claimed victory with a coarse dig at his rivals: “Now I’ve screwed them,” he said. Top Stories last_img read more

Key suspect says he wont testify at Litvinenko inquiry

first_img Check your body, save your life Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Comments   Share   New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of FILE – In this Wednesday, April 8, 2015 file photo, Russian businessman Dmitry Kovtun speaks during a press conference at Interfax headquarters in Moscow, Russia. A prime suspect in the killing of Alexander Litvinenko says he won’t testify as planned at an inquiry into the former Russian spy’s death, leading the judge in charge to accuse him of trying to manipulate proceedings. Inquiry counsel Robin Tam says Dmitry Kovtun claims to be bound by obligations of confidentiality to an ongoing Russian investigation. He had been due to testify by video link from Russia Monday, July 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)n Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitycenter_img Top Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall LONDON (AP) — A British judge investigating the death from radioactive poisoning of former Russian security agent Alexander Litvinenko accused a key suspect Monday of manipulating the inquiry by agreeing to testify, then refusing at the last minute.Russian businessman Dmitry Kovtun had been due to appear at judge Robert Owen’s inquiry by video link from Russia.But inquiry lawyer Robin Tam said that Kovtun now claimed to be bound by obligations of confidentiality to an ongoing Russian investigation. Sponsored Stories Owen said Kovtun’s last-minute change of stance gave rise to “the gravest suspicion that an attempt is being made to manipulate the situation.” He has previously warned Kovtun not to try to delay the inquiry, which began in January — more than eight years after Litvinenko’s death.The KGB officer-turned-Kremlin critic died in 2006 after drinking tea laced with radioactive polonium-210 at a London hotel. On his deathbed, Litvinenko blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin, and British authorities have also alleged that the Russian state was involved — an accusation Moscow denies.British police have accused Kovtun and another Russian man, Andrei Lugovoi, of carrying out the killing. Both deny involvement, and Russia refuses to extradite them.Lugovoi has declined to cooperate with the British probe, but Kovtun said in March that he was willing to give evidence.He has suggested that Litvinenko may have poisoned himself accidentally while handling radioactive material.Owen gave Kovtun until Tuesday morning to begin his testimony. Otherwise, the inquiry will wrap up this week without him.Ben Emmerson, lawyer for Litvinenko’s widow Marina, said he believed there was little chance Kovtun would give evidence. “It appears the proceedings are being manipulated in a coordinated way between Mr. Kovtun — the murderer — and the Russian state which sent him to commit the murder,” Emmerson said.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

Virgin Blue to set up pilot training

first_imgVirgin Blue is said to be establishing a training program for pilots to coach flight crews in house. While the carrier currently employs pilots trained by other airlines, Virgin Blue chief executive John Borghetti said at a parliamentary meeting that the base could take up to “12 months to get it right”, The Herald Sun reported. However, the airline is willing to take its time setting up the program as according to Virgin Blue operations executive Sean Donohue, the carrier’s low pilot turnover of only one percent gives the carrier time to develop the training system into a long term asset.”Obviously it is to make sure we have a pipeline of skilled, trained pilots for the future.” Mr Borghetti told the senators that pilots remain at a high level of importance for the company and that on his first day in the lead role he organised a meeting with chief pilots of both Virgin Blue and V Australia.”The same day I sent an email to every captain in our group of airlines providing my work number, my email address and personal mobile number inviting their feedback and comments at any time,” Mr Borghetti added. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

Click rates up on agents websites

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J More Aussies are choosing cost over branding, with up to 3.3 million Australians comparing prices on travel agent websites over the past 12 months ending June 2011.The number of Aussies researching on sites such as webject.com.au and flightcentre.com.au has increased from the three million during the 12 months last year, according to the latest Roy Morgan Travel Agents Monitor.   “The Roy Morgan Travel Agent Monitor shows that Australians are increasingly visiting travel agent and travel booking websites such as webjet.com.au, wotif.com.au and flightcentre.com.au to compare prices of different flights and accommodation,” Roy Morgan director of tourism, travel and leisure Jane Ianneillo said. “Industry sources claim some people are only using these intermediaries to locate the cheapest flights, and then go on to book directly with the airlines; as a result direct airline bookings are still solid (representing 59% of leisure air travellers booking via the internet).”Airline website visits remained the same as last year at three million, with Qantas leading the pack with 8.5 percent of visitors compared to Virgin Australia receiving 8.1 percent and Jetstar 7.7 percent.Meanwhile wotif.com saw a rise to 7.1 percent of visitors in the last four weeks, up from 5.5 percent in the year to June 2008 while webject.com.au welcomed a 6.8 percent rise in visitors from the last four weeks in the June 2011 compared to 4.4 percent for the last four weeks in June 2008. last_img read more

Three ships to sail in POs World Journeys Program 2016

first_imgThree of P and O’s ships will sail in its World Journeys Program in 2016 – Aurora, Arcadia and Oriana, cruising more than 90,000 nautical miles and visiting 20 countries.From Southampton on the 11 January 2016 Arcadia will sail around the world on a 115 night journey, calling at 32 destinations from Salavador and Santiago to San Francisco to St Maarten.Arcadia will make an overnight visit to Sydney and will also call at Brisbane and Cairns during the Australian leg of the cruise in early March 2016.Aurora will depart Southampton on 2 January 2016 and will depart on a 114 day cruise including the Panama Canal, cruising  around Cape Horn and Chile’s glaciers.The cruise line will also offer a 50 day cruise around America and the Caribbean aboard the Oriana which includes visits to Puerto Limon, Madeira, New Orleans and Miami.Source = ETB News: Tom Nealelast_img read more

Queen Mary 2 the largest and grandest ocean liner ever built

first_imgQueen Mary 2, the largest and grandest ocean liner ever built, arrived in Liverpool yesterday, starting Cunard’s three day celebration to mark the company’s 175 anniversary. The celebrations will culminate in the Three Queens on the Mersey event on Monday (local time).Cunard’s 150,000-tonne flagship treated guests and onlookers to a sail-past of the city’s historic waterfront – including the company’s former headquarters, the Cunard Building – before executing an elegant turn in the river and tying up at the berth.Queen Mary 2 will remain on the berth for the day and overnight, giving her 2600 guests the chance enjoy Liverpool’s sights ashore and to feel the buzz building up in the city ahead of  Monday May 25 when all three ships will perform a synchronised ‘river dance’ on the Mersey for the very first time.Adding a coup de grace to the Three Queens event, the Red Arrows will perform a fly-past at 1.50pm on Monday as the fleet completes its manoeuvres.  The world famous aerobatic team will follow the Mersey from the sea, flying in formation over the three ships to create an extraordinary spectacle on the river.Cunard Director Angus Struthers said the arrival of Queen Mary 2, the largest passenger ship ever to sail up the Mersey, signalled the beginning of Cunard’s Salute to Liverpool celebrations in the place where the Cunard story began 175 years ago.“The ship manoeuvres will culminate with a fly-past by the Red Arrows at 1.50pm on Monday. Nine jets in the sky, three Queens on the river and one magnificent city – what an extraordinary sight that will be,” Mr Struthers said.“Our flagship is here, her sister ships are on their way – we look forward to everyone enjoying the most amazing spectacle on the Mersey on Monday.”Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said Liverpool was a city well-versed in staging huge events with an international focus.Cunard Queen Mary 2 Source = Cunardlast_img read more

roomsXML – Wins at World Travel Awards

first_imgWorld Travel Awards www.roomsxml.comroomsXML – Wins at World Travel AwardsWorld Travel Awards celebrated its 22nd anniversary this year and is acknowledged across the globe as the ultimate travel accolade. The brand aims to celebrate those organisations who push the boundaries of industry excellence.World Travel Awards President Graham Cooke said: “It is an honor to recognize the leaders in Asian and Australasian hospitality here in Hong Kong this evening.“Congratulations to all our winners tonight and I look forward to greeting many of them in December when we will celebrate our Grand Final 2015 in Morocco.”Anuj Bang from roomsXML says “We are very thrilled that roomsXML has received ‘Asia’s Leading Hotel Booking Solutions Provider’ award by World Travel Awards. It’s a great recognition.”Mark Luckey, MD roomsXML Asia Pac says “It’s a great one for the team. It’s a prestigious award in a competitive market place. The caliber of the organisations we nudged out of top spot says a lot about what roomsXML has achieved over the past few years.”World Travel Awards Gala Ceremonies are widely regarded as the best networking opportunities within the travel and tourism industry, attended by government and industry leaders, luminaries, and international print and broadcast media.The World Travel Awards global media partner network includes International New York Times, TV5Monde, CNBC Arabiya, Outlook Traveller, Khaleej Times, TTN, Best in Travel, Breaking Travel News, and Travel Daily News International.A full list of winners for the World Travel Awards Asia & Australasia Gala Ceremony 2015 can be seen here. About roomsXMLfind out more here roomsXMLconnect today Source = roomsXMLlast_img read more

Mobile Travel Agents – A Coming of Age

first_imgDon BeatieCEOMTA – Mobile Travel AgentsMobile Travel Agents – A Coming of AgeMTA – Mobile Travel Agents founders Karen and Roy Merricks pioneered the mobile (work from home) model in Australia some 16 years ago and sought out a solution to allow more (primarily) women the flexibility to be able to work in the industry they loved while also being able to balance family life.With the advent of the internet they developed systems and processes that enabled consultants to work for themselves and provided them with the opportunity to work when they wanted, where they wanted and to have the potential to earn what they wanted with an uncapped remuneration scheme.Unlike the traditional “bricks and mortar” Agency, consultants gained the freedom of working when and where they chose (primarily from home) and they in fact could be seen as business owners themselves. Overheads were substantially lower as office rental was not required.In the past the model was frowned upon as being for “part timers” and not for the professional travel expert. Today there can be no doubt that the mobile model has come of age, it is accepted (perhaps reluctantly in some quarters) and in fact is now embraced by many of its former critics within the industry. Ironically many of the previous detractors have “got on board’ and are running some sort of like model themselves.Today MTA continues to be a leading provider of travel experiences as well as a supplier recognised, multi award winner for sales and expertise. It provides systems and an environment to allow business minded consultants to grow and service their customer base. No sales targets are set, consultants determine their own income driven by their efforts. MTA supports their efforts by the provision of in house developed, state of the art agency support mechanisms and by forging strong relationships with its partnersAttracting new members to the mobile model is a lot easier today as there is greater acceptance of the model than in the past. Consistently, MTA’s policy has been not to directly approach a consultant at either another like mobile model or a traditional travel agency. This is not true of most of MTAs competitors as evidenced through the number of approaches made to MTA members on a regular basis.Everyone who has joined MTA has enquired of their own volition and yes often through being recommended to enquire after speaking with our existing Members, which is testament to the MTA model itself. Further, not all consultants who enquire are selected. Indeed consistently of all the enquiries that MTA receives less than 10% are accepted as new members. While growth may be desirable it will only occur with the right kind of people and those that demonstrate a fit for the MTA cultural, as the relationship is very much one of partnership. MTA can proudly boast the highest calibre of members who consistently focus on quality delivery of experiences for their customers.For those experienced consultants looking who are looking for a change that will provide them with the freedoms to be able to manage their own clients without the distractions of people just wanting quotes then the mobile model is something to consider. If you are ready to make the change and are comparing the models the following things should be considered.Points For ConsiderationWill you be able to work and continue to receive support without the need to achieve imposed sales or hours of work targetsIs the culture of the organisation supportive and understanding of “life stage support”Have you the range of Suppliers to cater for your customer’s needsAre you provided with insurance or do you have to arrange and pay for it yourselfIs after hours support providedAre you provided with 7×24 IT supportAre your bookings and customers looked after when you are on leave or on a familAre you provided with a web page or a fully integrated websiteCan you use any GDS that you likeAre you able to work when and where you chooseDo you receive tickets at no chargeHave you checked the Supplier commissions you are going to receive to make sure that they are competitive.Look at how much you are getting to put in your pocket after all the fees and charges have been deducted from your earned commission (the top line is never the measure). For example do you have to pay ticketing or marketing support fees. Even with all of the financial and support side of the business proposition considered, it is advisable to also look at the culture of the business and whether you see yourself fitting into that culture. In this model you need to know that you will be supported ongoing with a profitable and viable company.MTA – Mobile Travel Agents ticks all of the boxes and answers yes to the points above. In addition it nurtures the concept of “life stage support” because we know that it is something that everybody goes through.The Mobile model however will not suit all consultants with the two main considerations beingIt is a commission only model therefore no commissions, no earningsYou need to have or be able to develop your own client baseIn reality those consultants who do make the move to the mobile environment are able to potentially earn more than they did previously with rewards for their efforts being recognised by uncapped remuneration and a work/lifestyle balance. Additionally the mobile model is very much a referral type business and if you provide great service and are able to demonstrate your expertise then building your own client base is not so much of a problem. Mike Parker-BrownSource = MTA – Mobile Travel Agents – Don Beatie – CEO MTA – Mobile Travel Agentslearn more here Join MTAbecome a mobile travel agent last_img read more

Escape to Bali With Club Med Virgin Australia

first_imgEscape to Bali With Club Med & Virgin AustraliaEscape to Bali With Club Med & Virgin AustraliaClub Med is helping Australian travellers take a hassle-free escape to Club Med Bali with exclusive Virgin Australia flight prices and free airport transfers combined with Club Med’s premium all-inclusive packages when booked before 31 March 2018.This comprehensive travel package will allow Aussies to fly to Bali with one of Australia’s most loved airlines, Virgin Australia, and transfers from the airport for free to spend seven nights at Club Med’s Nusa Dua beachfront location with prices starting from $1,740 per adult, for travel until 30 June 2018.Plus, the first 20 travel bookings for a Club Med Bali with Virgin Australia flights package and travel prior to 30 June 2018 will receive a one way Economy X upgrade!Club Med Bali is a sanctuary for families and friends on the shores of Nusa Dua, set between fields of rice paddies and temples, offering a truly authentic Balinese experience for guests. Club Med Bali’s cultural highlights include Bahasa language lessons, Balinese ceremonies as well as arts and crafts. The resort caters for all guests, from old to young, with outstanding Kids Clubs for children of all ages, 4 months – 17 years old and exceptional outdoor sports and activities including flying trapeze and golf.Revive your body and mind whilst at the resort with yoga by the sea or a relaxing moment at the adults-only Zen pool. For those with a passion for action and adventure, there’s surfing lessons* and windsurfing or a beautiful walk through the resort’s botanical track.Club Med continues to offer the ultimate hassle-free holiday experiences for families, couples and groups with this one-stop-shop offer of flights and premium all-inclusive package.Club Med’s all-inclusive packages include gourmet meals and snacks with international delicacies and traditional local cuisine, an open bar, a vast selection of activities, entertainment and Kids Clubs, in addition to accommodation – taking the planning out of holidays, so guests have more time for fun.7 night all-inclusive air+land package with Virgin Australia and Club Med from:Flying from Sydney (economy) – $1,740 per adult (18+ yrs), $1,530 per teen (12-17) and $1,120 per child (4-11)Flying from Brisbane (economy) – $1,695 per adult (18+ yrs), $1,490 per teen (12-17) and $1,090 per child (4-11)*Free airport transfers provided by Club MedFor bookings and enquiries call Club Med on 1800 258 263 or visit www.clubmed.com.au.Source = Club Medlast_img read more

MTA Members bear up on Rocky Mountaineer study tour

first_imgMTA Members Wanita Thompson and Michelle Brown bear up on Rocky Mountaineer study tourMTA Members bear up on Rocky Mountaineer study tourPictured cosying up to one of Alberta’s better- known tourist attractions, the crystal bear which greets travellers reaching the top of Banff’s world-famous mountain gondola ride, MTA – Mobile Travel Agents Members Wanita Thompson and Michelle Brown.The pair visited Banff as part of a Rocky Mountaineer learning experience travelling on board the world-famous train’s first departure of the year from Vancouver to Calgary via Kamloops with a Rocky Mountains helicopter tour included in their overall itinerary.Source = Mike Parker-Brown – MTA – Mobile Travel Agents PRlast_img read more

Further speakers announced for TravelManagers National Conference

first_imgFurther speakers announced for TravelManagers’ National ConferenceFurther speakers announced for TravelManagers’ National ConferenceTravelManagers’ recent announcement regarding their upcoming annual National Conference caused something of a stir within the travel industry, thanks in no small part to their destination: Hawaii’s Oahu. However, the company’s Executive General Manager, Michael Gazal, says there is also much excitement around the calibre of the speakers who will be addressing the conference this year.“We are immensely privileged to have Turia Pitt joining us in Oahu,” says Gazal. “Both she and our other keynote speaker, Chris Paulsen, have a lot to share in terms of their stories of personal and professional achievement, and they’re a great fit with this year’s conference theme: success.”Gazal says that in addition to the two keynote speakers, the attendees will also hear from six personal travel managers (PTMs), each of whom will share the “Secrets of [their] Success” during the three-day event.“It’s a key feature of TravelManagers’ business model and culture that our PTMs share ideas, experience and knowledge with their colleagues, recognising that each individual has something to contribute and something to learn.”One of this year’s PTM speakers is Nakita Byrne, who is representative for Mount Arthur, NSW: last year she won the prestigious Avis Travel Agents Scholarship of Excellence.“Nakita is an outstanding example of someone who, despite being based in a regional location, has built a successful business and manages to juggle this with the demands of being a working mum of two pre-school children,” says Gazal. “She’s got a lot to share in terms of achieving a great work/life balance.”PTM Sue Kuti is also on the list of speakers, thanks to her success in building a niche business with her small group tours. Kuti, who is representative for Randwick, NSW, has personally escorted tours to destinations as diverse as Cambodia, Malta and Alaska, and in the eleven years she has been with the company has been awarded numerous TravelManagers awards, including Best Customer Service in 2016 and the Online Marketing Award in 2017.Queensland-based Erin Ross has worked in the travel industry for more than eighteen years and has been invited to speak at the annual National Conference about reinventing herself to build a successful life, while South Australia-based Josh Faddoul will discuss the value of having a mentor in building a successful business.“We also have Mark Elevato talking about the importance of having a strong and trusting partnership with the National Partnership Office [NPO],” says Gazal. “Mark has employed the resources, support, strength and leverage of a multi-million-dollar travel management company to deliver outstanding, personalised service to his clients, building a successful business in the process.”The final PTM presentation will come from Michelle Schultz and Julie Painter, who between them have thirty years’ experience in the travel industry, and who have collaborated to create a successful ladies-only small group tours business.“We now have more than 530 PTMs within the TravelManagers group, which represents a phenomenal wealth of experience, expertise and innovative thinking,” says Gazal. “That’s not eventaking into account the depth of experience supporting our PTMs in marketing, sales, technology, finance and business mentoring within the NPO”Gazal reports that this year’s conference attendees will, for the first time, hear from an NPO speaker about their personal journey within TravelManagers.“Tania Myles is responsible for Digital Marketing Support,” explains Gazal. “She has worked very closely with the PTM network in the launch of their own individual websites, so it’s a great opportunity for her to talk about what this project and role mean to her and to share her pride in what they have achieved collectively.”For more information or to speak to someone confidentially about TravelManagers please contact Suzanne Laister on 1800 019 599.Source = TravelManagerslast_img read more

Iceland Ambassador celebrates the launch of three Icelandic lifestyle brands in India

first_imgAmbassador of Iceland, H.E. Thorir Ibsen and his wife Dominique Ambroise Ibsen hosted a dinner reception at their residence recently in the capital to celebrate the launch of three Icelandic Companies Mýr, Geosilica Iceland and Ankra (Feel Iceland) in India by the Embassy of Iceland in association with Indo Icelandic Business Association (IIBA) & Midori.The crème de la crème of the capital present at the do engaged in thoughtful conversations with the members of all women’s lifestyle delegation from Iceland having roots in ‘Startup Iceland’.On the occasion, Ambassador of Iceland said, “I firmly believe that there are ample business opportunities between Iceland and India especially in the areas of geothermal energy, life style and cutting edge high tech industries. The opportunities are out there waiting to be seized. Early completion of the India-EFTA Free Trade Agreement would certainly boost the business confidence between Iceland and India.”last_img read more

City of Nawabs gets its maiden Novotel hotel

first_imgAccorHotels has announced the opening of Uttar Pradesh’s first Novotel in the capital city of Lucknow, ‘Novotel Lucknow Gomti Nagar’. The business hotel is strategically located in the heart of the city’s commercial hub, Gomti Nagar, a short drive from Lucknow airport and railway station. The hotel features 106 well-appointed rooms, including two suites, all equipped with modern in-room amenities, plush interiors and high-speed Wi-Fi connectivity.Speaking on the occasion, Jean-Michel Cassé, Chief Operating Officer, India & South Asia, AccorHotels, said, “The city’s radial expansion has given way to new growth corridors, attracting plentiful investments. It is this confluence of culture and business that makes Lucknow a compelling destination for travellers and we are delighted to open our very first Novotel property here.”For meetings and events, Novotel Lucknow Gomti Nagar features two stylish state-of-the-art meeting rooms– The Ballroom and The Celebrations, both equipped with modern amenities and latest technology. Leisure facilities include a fitness centre, a rooftop infinity pool and a recreational area for kids and a spa to rejuvenate the mind and body. Novotel Lucknow Gomti Nagar is home to four eclectic food and beverage outlets- The Square, The Bar, The Rooftop Restaurant and The Deli.Commenting on the development, Raj Singh, General Manager, Novotel Lucknow Gomti Nagar, said, “With Novotel Lucknow Gomti Nagar’s contemporary ‘home away from home’ stay experience, assortment of dining outlets and meeting spaces, we are set to define new paradigms in the hospitality industry to meet the city’s tourism growth.”last_img read more

Nepal looks to reposition itself as an experiential destination

first_imgTo promote 2020 as ‘Visit Nepal Year’Akansha Pandey | New DelhiYet again, India is the number one source market for Nepal followed by China and the United States. Over 160,832 Indian arrivals travelled to the friendly neighbour country in 2017. The air arrivals have gone up by 36% over 2016 and by road, the number is unaccountable and is surging exponentially. Leisure and adventure holidayers are dominating travel from India to Nepal.By 2020, Nepal aims to welcome 1.5 million tourists, with one-third of them coming from India and China, stated the Tourism Ministry of Nepal. The Himalayan country is set to organise 2020 as ‘Visit Nepal Year’. It will be the third national-level initiative to promote Nepal’s tourism sector since the country first celebrated Visit Nepal Year in 1998 followed by the Nepal Tourism Year in 2011.According to the 2018 strategy of Nepal Tourism, the destination is all set to reposition itself as an ideal destination for diverse immersive experiences varying from culture, tradition, nature, adventure, gastronomy, etc. which is indeed the USP of Nepal, stressed Nabin Pokharel, Officiating Director-Tourism Marketing and Promotion, Nepal Tourism Board.Pokharel divulged that they’ll be conducting roadshows in 2018 and would like to associate with the private sectors as well. With a Public Private Partnership (PPP) approach, Nepal Tourism Board eyes aligning with the private players and working based on their feedback, alongside researching on the basis of recommendations, figures, data analytics, facts, etc. The idea is to adapt the destination at par with the market scenario, he said.last_img read more