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More agent incentives with Grupo Posadas La Colección

first_img Posted by Travelweek Group MEXICO CITY — Grupo Posadas’ agent cash incentive program has a new name – La Colección Rewards – and new rewards for the trade, offering travel agents a free night at any resort per booking and 15% commission for direct reservations (up from a previous 10%).“For over five years, Grupo Posadas has rewarded travel agents in the U.S. and Canada for all their arduous work in providing clients the ability to embrace their dream of Mexico with unforgettable travel experiences by introducing the beach resorts of La Colección,” says the company.Now La Colección Rewards, the program features updated information on all of the Mexico-based hotel company’s resorts as well as exclusive travel agent promotions and incentives, and important trade news and resources.New incentives include:Agent receives one free night at any resort per booking15% commission for direct reservations (up from a previous 10%)The program also maintains all its popular benefits, such as:$50 cash for bookings of three to five nights and $100 cash for bookings of six nights or morePayment upon booking, a feature exclusive to Grupo Posadas, according to the company. Agents don’t have to wait for customers to travel. Grupo Posadas’ La Colección Rewards pays the travel agent bonuses on registered bookings within 30 daysUnlimited earning potential with no capsThe incentives apply in bookings of a minimum of three nights and are valid for individual bookings and groups of up to 25 roomsMore news:  CIE Tours launches first-ever River Cruise CollectionLa Colección Rewards is available to certified travel agents with a valid IATA, CLIA, or any official travel agent ID.For more on the program including a complete list of terms and conditions and how to register, visit lacoleccionrewards.com. More agent incentives with Grupo Posadas’ La Colección Tags: Agent Incentives, Promotionscenter_img Friday, June 16, 2017 Share << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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Boutique and urban hotels a growing trend for South sun getaways

first_imgTags: Hilton, Transat The Fives has 93 rooms, some of which boast a kitchenette, and a handy location near 5th Avenue with its boutiques, restaurants and nightclubs.“Guests can feel the history of this corner of Mexico everywhere in the building, which is located on the site of the first bar in Playa del Carmen, El Tigre, which comes back to life in the hotel in the form of a Mexican canteen,” notes Transat. Coffee lovers will also enjoy the atmosphere of the on-site Marley Coffee Shop, for a Jamaican vibe in the heart of Mexico.More news:  Marriott Int’l announces 5 new all-inclusive resorts in D.R. & MexicoThe Fives is also home to the trendy European-style ‘Purobeach’. “By day, they can indulge in the pool, fine dining and breathtaking views of the city and the sea. By night, the DJ sets the tone for a more vibrant ambience.”Transat’s other resort options in Riviera Maya include Thompson Playa del Carmen and Mahekal Beach Resort, two luxury properties in the same area. Transat also recommends the beachfront Villa Premiere Boutique Hotel & Romantic Getaway in Puerto Vallarta, close to the Malecon, the seaside boardwalk, Breathless Cabo San Lucas Resort & Spa in Los Cabos and Breathless Montego Bay Resort & Spa in Jamaica. MONTREAL — The brand new The Fives Downtown Hotel & Residences, Curio Collection by Hilton, available exclusively by Transat in Canada, offers “European charm in the South”, says the tour operator.The five-star hotel opened its doors on Dec. 15 in the heart of Playa del Carmen in Riviera Maya, a few minutes’ walk from the beach.Transat says the resort offers the best of both worlds for travellers looking to relax and to explore: an all-inclusive stay in the comfort of a boutique hotel and a prime location that allows its guests to soak up the local culture. Posted by Thursday, December 21, 2017 Boutique and urban hotels a growing trend for South sun getaways Travelweek Group Share << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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Tourism Australia pulls off ultimate prank Dundee sequel turns out to be

first_img Share SYDNEY — Want a good reason to watch Tourism Australia’s new advertising campaign? Here are two: Chris and Liam Hemsworth.That’s right, the hunky Aussie brothers are featured in the star-studded commercial, which aired last night during the second quarter of the Superbowl. However, while teasers leading up the Big Game hinted that the duo stars in a new sequel to the 80s hit movie ‘Crocodile Dundee’, they’re actually fronting Tourism Australia’s campaign aimed at attracting more tourists to Australia.In fact, Tourism Australia pulled off the dupe so well that major news outlets like ‘Good Morning America’, ‘Hollywood Reporter’ and ‘People’ believed the hype over a new Dundee film. What we all got instead, however, was a 90-second ad that highlights Australia’s fine wines, world-class restaurants and amazing wildlife.Presented as a buddy comedy, the ‘movie’ features Danny McBride as Brian Dundee, the long-lost son of Mick Dundee, and Chris Hemsworth as his sidekick, Wally Jr. The all-Australian support cast has an impressive roll call of Hollywood heavyweights and homegrown talent, including Hugh Jackman, Russel Crowe, Margot Robbie, Ruby Rose, Liam Hemsworth, Isla Fisher, Luke Bracey Jessica Mauboy, and even Mick Dundee himself, Paul Hogan.More news:  Apply now for AQSC’s agent cruise ratesThe teasers led viewers to believe that Mick ‘Crocodile’ Dundee was lost in the Outback, and only his American son would be able to find him. Teaser films encouraged fans to tune in to see the ‘official movie trailer’ during the Superbowl, during which the Tourism Australia campaign was ultimately revealed.Part of its global ‘There’s Nothing Like Australia’ masterbrand campaign, ‘Dundee: The Son of a Legend Returns Home’ represents the biggest campaign Tourism Australia has run in the U.S. since Paul Hogan’s ‘Come and Say G’Day’ campaign in 1984. It also represents the largest investment ever made by Australia into a single overseas tourism market, at US$27 million.Tourism Australia has set a goal to make Australia the most desired destination for Americans to visit by 2020.Tourism Australia Chief Marketing Officer Lisa Ronson said the Big Game provided the perfect platform to grab attention in the US before rolling out the new campaign’s commercial elements in order to convert interest into bookings.More news:  Universal enhances popular Harry Potter vacation package with new perks“The Super Bowl has the largest reach of any advertising platform in the US, with more than 100 million viewers tuning in across America and many more millions globally. Importantly, many viewers are the high-yielding American traveler we specifically target,” she said.To explore all the elements of the campaign, visit www.australia.com and australia.com/dundee. << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by Tags: Australia, LOL, Videocenter_img Travelweek Group Tourism Australia pulls off ultimate prank, Dundee sequel turns out to be tourism ad Monday, February 5, 2018 last_img read more

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Vaping pilot causes plane to plummet after flipping wrong switch to air

first_imgVaping pilot causes plane to plummet after flipping wrong switch to air fan Tags: Plane Posted by Share Travelweek Group center_img SEATTLE — So this just happened: an Air China co-pilot who was smoking an electronic cigarette in the cockpit caused the plane to drop nearly 20,000 feet after flipping what he thought was the switch for the air recycling fans.According to CNN, the unnamed co-pilot was trying to turn off the fans to prevent the vapour from spreading into the cabin. Instead, he flipped the wrong switches, causing a drop in oxygen levels that triggered altitude warnings just 30 minutes after takeoff.As a result, Air China flight CA106, which was en route from Hong Kong to Dalian, China last Tuesday, dropped from over 32,800 feet to 13,100 feet in less than nine minutes. In a video obtained by the Beijing News, oxygen masks are seen hanging from overhead compartments while a flight attendant walks down the aisle to check on passengers.In total, there were 153 passengers and nine crew members onboard the flight.More news:  Can you guess the one and only hotel company to rank on Indeed’s Top Workplaces in Canada list?Multiple Chinese state media outlets reported that the plane eventually rose back to around 24,600 feet and continued to Dalian with a less-than-adequate oxygen level in the cabin.Qiao Yibin, a senior official from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said that “severe punishment in accordance with laws and regulations” would be handed down. Air China fired the entire flight deck crew put forth a recommendation to CAAC to revoke the pilot’s licence upon completing its investigation. Monday, July 16, 2018 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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Lawmakers to discuss San JoséCartago highway expansion

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica struggles to manage $1.7 billion in development loans Slippery When Wet: Only 4.5 percent of Costa Rican roads are in good condition, study finds Mandatory vehicle inspection agency seeks up to 200 percent increase in prices Regulatory agency rejects increase in vehicle inspection rates Starting this week, legislators will begin discussing proposals for an expansion of the Florencio del Castillo Highway, the main route connecting the eastern sector of the capital with the province of Cartago.Two lawmakers recently filed separate proposals for the project that both call for a two-stage plan to expand the highway to three lanes. They also seek construction of a new three-kilometer stretch of road connecting the Zapote roundabout with the end of the highway in the San José canton of Curridabat. The main difference between the two proposals is financing.Christian Democratic Alliance Party lawmaker Mario Redondo Poveda drafted one of the proposals that seeks financing from a $450 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). That loan currently is under negotiation with Costa Rica’s executive branch.Redondo told The Tico Times that the original drafting of the IDB loan included $22 million for the highway project, but a more recent version redirected those funds to another roadway project in the northern zone.“Cartago residents face huge traffic jams every day, and now the funds are assigned to a roadway project in a rural area, where vehicle transit is significantly lower,” he said.A group of residents from Curridabat and Cartago last week protested by partially blocking the highway in an effort to pressure lawmakers to restore the funds for Cartago, as originally stated in the loan.The protesters delivered Public Works and Transport Minister Carlos Segnini a request signed by 10,000 residents from both provinces. Segnini expressed disapproval of the protest, but added that officials are reviewing possible solutions for the highway’s traffic jams.“Demonstrating on the streets [and] blocking transit isn’t going to help resolve this. I can’t rob a bank or build a road with a magic wand,” Segnini said last week.Redondo’s proposal will be discussed starting Tuesday in the Assembly’s Finance Commission.Broad Front Party lawmaker Francisco Camacho Leiva last week also filed a bill proposing the highway expansion, but he believes the project should be financed by a trust fund supported by resources from public banks, government agencies and municipalities.Camacho’s initiative will be discussed by members of a special legislative commission addressing Cartago issues likely starting next week, Jens Pfeiffer-Kramer, a member of Camacho’s office, said. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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Solís welcomes senior US Foreign Service officer on brief 3country tour

first_imgCosta Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís met with U.S. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere AffairsJohn Feeley Monday morning as part of a three-nation trip by the State Department official. Feeley said his visit was to touch base with the Costa Rican president and shore up relations between the allies.Solís and Feeley spoke about Costa Rica’s shared interests with the United States along with Costa Rica’s relationship with Nicaragua, the unaccompanied child migrant crisis and regional security during their brief meeting at Casa Presidencial.“Costa Rica, thanks to its history, thanks to the effort of the Costa Rican people, does not suffer from some of the problems like its friends in Central America, in the Northern Triangle. We see Costa Rica as an excellent partner not only in anti-organized crime efforts but in economic, environmental, and, most importantly, in the international arena,” especially in its support for human rights, Feeley said during a joint press conference.Feeley said that his visit was to shore up partnerships between the two nations and not ideology. The diplomat admitted that while the U.S. in years past was more concerned with Latin American leaders’ adherence to capitalism, his visit Monday was more about working with countries like Costa Rica to develop an agenda for the region based on greater security, prosperity and democracy.“It used to be like that in the past but we’ve evolved,” Feeley said.Solís said that during a recent trip to New York, he spoke with other Central American leaders who had expressed their concern about the drop-off in media coverage for a humanitarian crisis of unaccompanied migrants. According to Solís, Feeley said the U.S. was working on improving conditions at immigration processing areas.Since September, U.S. border officials have seen a flood of child migrants begin to slow. In May, officials apprehended more than 10,500 unaccompanied minors arriving at the southern U.S. border, and about the same number in June. That figure fell by about half in July, and was down to about 3,100 in August. Most of the children were fleeing poverty and violence in the Central American countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.Feeley also congratulated Costa Rican Justice Minister Cristina Ramírez on the government’s efforts to reform its overcrowded prison system. The diplomat said that Costa Rica’s “progressive” efforts to reform and reinsert its prisoners into society should be the basis of any correctional system. Feeley said the U.S. Embassy in San José has been working for two years with the Justice Ministry on prison reform.“This is an example of how a small country like Costa Rica can help us,” Feeley said.Solís said he has no current plans to make a formal state visit to the United States. The president already has made two trips to the U.S. since taking office on May 8. He mentioned that future trips to encourage foreign investment may look beyond New York and Silicon Valley to Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston.Solís said he would welcome a visit by U.S. President Barack Obama during his term. President Laura Chinchilla (2010-2014) hosted Obama’s most recent visit to Costa Rica in 2012.After meeting with Solís on Monday, Feeley traveled to Panama before moving on to Belize to close his trip.AFP contributed to this report. Facebook Comments Related posts:Nicaraguan migrants don’t follow other Central Americans to US, choosing Costa Rica instead Costa Rica to ‘take a hard look’ at its diplomatic missions, foreign minister says after meeting with US Secretary of State Kerry White House seeks emergency funds to handle rush of young immigrants Costa Rica serves as a corridor for Asians, Africans migrating to the USlast_img read more

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In a flurry of pink Costa Rica opens its first bank exclusively

first_imgUpon entering the bank, customers are ushered inside by a doorman in a gray suit and pink shirt. This greeter is the only man inside the Kristal bank in Plaza del Sol. The tellers, managers and other employees — also in gray suits and pink shirts — are all women. The walls are pink and white, and official business is carried out in cushioned swivel chairs at shiny white tables.“Women aren’t complicated,” reads a sign along the outside walls. “It’s just that before no one understood us.”The creators of “Banca” Kristal, which exclusively caters to female customers, believe they do understand what women want: free purses, diamond accents and lots and lots of pink.“Pink is a color that has always been associated with women,” Gisella Flores, a Kristal spokeswoman told The Tico Times. “We just needed something to differentiate ourselves. Something that said you can manage finances without losing your femininity.”In addition to its “feminine” decor, Banca Kristal offers its women customers special savings accounts for beauty supplies and fashion alongside the regular Banco de Costa Rica savings accounts for education and business. On the bank’s website these special services are listed in bullets designed to look like pink diamonds. For women who open accounts, different branches have offered everything from complimentary clutch bags to free manicures. Related posts:Money for startups: The key to creating more companies? Most Costa Ricans still prefer to pay in cash, study finds Costa Rican banks to replace credit, debit cards to improve security Banks in Costa Rica to change account numbering format The decidedly gendered marketing campaign has received widespread criticism since the bank opened it doors in November.“It’s a bank for women that doesn’t incentivize women financially,” lawmaker Epsy Campbell wrote in an editorial for the newspaper El País. “Instead, it promotes the most traditional norms of society, those which the Banco de Costa Rica considers only belonging to women.”Campbell was joined by Vice President Ana Helena Chacón in her critique of the bank, but President Luis Guillermo Solís has refused to comment on the state bank’s decision to open Kristal. Acabo de utilizar un cajero de Banca Kristal y el sistema parece que lo diseñó la gente de My Little Pony con los de Strawberry Shortcake.— El altísimo (@aoctaviop) December 10, 2015center_img Though its pink ad campaign has captured most of the attention, bank officials say that Banca Kristal was launched to address problems women face at traditional banks.“When a woman enters a traditional bank she encounters disadvantages just because she is a woman,” Flores said. “Studies show that a woman who is the head of the household, without some kind of formal relationship, is automatically considered a higher financial risk.”Flores says bankers’ fears are unfounded. Statistics show women, in Costa Rica and elsewhere, are actually more likely to save their money and less likely to accumulate debt. In order to combat these prejudices, Banca Kristal employs only women bankers. The banks have also done away with the traditional teller windows and replaced them with a lounge-type setting in an effort to remove barriers between women and their bankers. Ad for Banca Kristal (Via Facebook)Despite its critics, Banco de Costa Rica has invested more than $8 million in the launch of the first five branches of Banca Kristal in the greater San José metropolitan area, and has announced plans to open at least 15 others. According to Flores, more than 1,200 women opened accounts with the bank on its opening day on Nov. 30, and other women continue to do so.“Women are fighters and they often have more responsibilities, but men have so many financial advantages,” Jasmina Alvarado told The Tico Times after exiting Banca Kristal in Plaza del Sol and opening an account. “In the past there have been groups just for men. Now it’s our turn.” Facebook Comments La Banca Kristal es un retroceso a los avances feministas y un insulto a la inteligencia.— Melissa Barrientos (@melibarrien) November 28, 2015last_img read more

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Costa Rica pummeled by US 40 in Copa America rout

first_imgCHICAGO, Ill. — The customary chant from United States fans of “I believe that we will win” was quickly made too redundant for the home crowd to keep echoing in Costa Rica’s nightmarish 4-0 loss in Copa América group play Tuesday.“La Sele” was beat down from the beginning of the Group A match against the U.S. once Clint Dempsey converted on an early penalty kick in the ninth minute. The Ecuadorian referees booked Tico defender Cristian Gamboa for shoving Bobby Wood in the box.Wood did a good job of selling the penalty, but it wasn’t an atrocious call by any means. It wouldn’t matter anyways, as the U.S. quickly became the aggressor and scored two more goals in the half when Wood and Jermaine Jones connected on open shots near the end of the period.Once again, Costa Rica failed to materialize anything in the front of the field. Marco Ureña came off the field in the 17th minute with an apparent injury and substitute Álvaro Saborío was quickly rendered useless.This team’s star offensive trio of Joel Campbell, Bryan Ruíz, and Celso Borges failed to appear for a second straight match. Costa Rica is not talented enough to afford any of those three playing poorly, let alone all three at the same time. Bobby Wood of the United States gets a hug from teammate Alejandro Bedoya after scoring a goal against Costa Rica during a match in the 2016 Copa América Centenario at Soldier Field on June 7, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. Jonathan Daniel/AFPIn the 55th minute, Borges came close to scoring a goal, but chipped the shot just over the top bar. Later on, Ruíz somehow missed a wide open shot with a header that veered from its path on goal towards the left post, providing one last clank for Costa Rica.Patrick Pemberton, Costa Rica’s third string goalie, needs to be given credit for holding up strong in the first game against Paraguay. But the 34-year-old keeper was exposed versus the U.S., coming too far out of the net and being too slow to react on the game’s second and third goals.Star goalie Keylor Navas was missed, as was suspended center back Kendall Waston, who could have helped plug the middle of a defense that the U.S. exploited on multiple occasions. Neither player would have made this a different result, though, as Costa Rica was beat on every level.The worst loss of the Óscar Ramírez era came on the biggest stage in a must-win game. Fortunately for him, Costa Rica is doing well in World Cup qualifiers in a somewhat complicated group. But, at this rate, La Sele’s glaring problems may extend well beyond Chicago’s Soldier Field towards the 2018 World Cup in Russia.Even in victory, this team has been devoid of a consistent offensive attack while relying on a five-man backline.What’s more discouraging is trying to look beyond the current roster for any possible reinforcement in the national system’s front.Young forwards John Jairo Ruíz and David Ramírez have not panned out the way anyone in the country could have hoped. Ariel Rodríguez, who was kept off this roster with an injury, showed promise with a goal in La Sele’s pre-Copa friendly against Venezuela, but he, too, lacks the consistency this offense needs.Ramírez’s defense shouldn’t be immune from reform, either. Though the talent is in place with a solid bookend of wing defenders Ronald Matarrita and Cristian Gamboa, this defense lacks the discipline and effort that made its improbable run through the last World Cup possible. This group has played with little urgency in World Cup qualifiers and recent friendlies, and that passiveness was on full display Tuesday when a very average U.S. side carved up the Ticos.It was the “group of death” that Costa Rica conquered in the 2014 World Cup, and two years later it’s this tournament’s “group of death” that put a dagger through La Sele, possibly piercing through the team’s biggest flaws. Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica heads into must-win game against United States Costa Rica ties Paraguay in Copa América opener Final thoughts from Costa Rica’s short-lived Copa América: Is Ramírez in the hot seat? Costa Rica humiliates the United States 4-0 in World Cup qualifierlast_img read more

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Santa Teresa Deep Dive Keeping an eye on wastewater

first_imgSANTA TERESA, Puntarenas — It’s easy to think the ocean is infinite when you’re standing on its shore, refreshed by its cool touch and comforted by its pounding lull. Especially here, near the tip of Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula, where the white sand seems to stretch forever in each direction. But look closer, Carolina Chavarría Pozuelo asks. Please look closer. Walk the town’s roads and notice the trash dumped along their edges. Stroll the beaches and see the canals draining dirty water into the ocean. This is Santa Teresa’s tenuous reality. The Cóbano district — which contains the beach towns of Santa Teresa, Mal País, Carmen and Hermosa — has changed dramatically over the last decade as tourists visit a region which promises a peaceful, laid-back attitude complemented by unspoiled natural beauty and surf. Those tourists bring money they’re eager to spend on food, housing and transportation — and new businesses have formed as a result.But that growth lacks the necessary oversight and supporting infrastructure, Chavarría says, which puts the area’s biggest draws in peril. “It frightens me that there won’t be the structure or long-term planning that could support the expansion of the town while at the same time respecting the natural resources available,” she said. “The economic development, advancement of public services and environmental protection need to go hand-in-hand. If not, how much growth can we take?” Chavarría is the director of the Nicoya Peninsula Waterkeeper, a non-government organization that acts as a watchdog for clean water in the South Nicoya Peninsula. While the local government has been ill-equipped to oversee the area, the Waterkeeper group helps ensure new and existing establishments follow regulations. And Chavarría is disappointed by what they’ve found. In an interview with The Tico Times, she alleged many businesses in Santa Teresa and in surrounding towns take advantage of lax oversight and follow environmentally harmful processes. It’s a situation that frustrates many residents: How can you sustain the economic boom without fracturing the community or irreparably harming the environment that attracted the growth in the first place? Santa Teresa can be a picture-perfect town, but if you look closer, not everything is perfect. (Alexander Villegas / The Tico Times)* * * Part of Santa Teresa’s allure is its relative inaccessibility. It’s more than four hours from Liberia, which houses the closest international airport. The majority of visitors from the populous Central Valley come via ferry, but even that drops passengers off in Paquera, a one-and-a-half-hour drive away — when the roads are good. The last stretch of the journey, the 15 kilometers from Cóbano to the Pacific Ocean, is a hilly, winding pothole-filled dirt adventure better suited for an ATV than a car. But the reward at the end is the crossroads, the single intersection that will take you to Mal País or to Santa Teresa or to any of the other beach towns, which are less “towns” in the traditional sense and more a concentration of shops and stores and hotels alongside a single dusty street. That much hasn’t changed in the region, but what has changed is, well, just about everything else. The Cóbano district lists a population of approximately 5,200 inhabitants, though the local government notes the number fluctuates greatly throughout the year due to visitors. In December and January, two of the busiest months in Costa Rica for tourism, residents say the main street can become virtually impassable, a backlog of traffic sharing the unmarked street with parked cars and pedestrians. “The area has changed a lot,” Chavarría said. “From the late 90s until now, it’s a different place entirely. […] A lot of people think Santa Teresa is too full, too loud now. So people looking for peace and quiet move elsewhere.” Until the opening of an aqueduct in earlier this year, Santa Teresa and its neighboring communities relied on tanker trucks to deliver drinkable water during the December-to-May dry season — which coincides with the busiest months for tourism in the country. The improvements in water accessibility have allowed for larger construction projects, and there is plenty of demand for that growth. According to the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT), the industry continues to expand in Costa Rica, now accounting for 6.7 percent of the country’s GDP. In 2017, the ICT estimates 29.8 percent of all tourists, or 531,304 people, spent at least a night in Puntarenas province, up from 132,768 people in 2006. Today, you’d be hard-pressed to walk more than a couple minutes through Santa Teresa without seeing workers laboring to finish new buildings in time for the expected wave of tourism that begins this month.But essential government services haven’t quite caught up to the private sector. There is the issue of the unpaved, potholed roads, for starters. And residents say garbage isn’t always collected on-time, if at all. Then, of course, is water consumption and treatment. Residents say trash isn’t always collected in time.  (Alejandro Zúñiga / The Tico Times)Hotels, a virtual necessity for tourism, are heavy consumers of water. Numbers vary, but according to a study report prepared for the city of Seattle, a hotel will typically use between 100 and 400 gallons of water per day per room — lodging with full-service restaurants and on-site laundry facilities use more. That water has to go somewhere, but according to the Municipality of Cóbano, blackwater — water polluted with food, animal or human waste — “does not yet have a network that prevents it from being directed toward the nearest streams,” leaving each business responsible for its own water treatment and disposal. Alberto Vásquez Granados, the Environmental Manager for the Municipal Council of Cóbano, told The Tico Times that “other sites in Costa Rica have a much greater environmental impact than Santa Teresa from wastewater contamination, which has caused Santa Teresa not to be on the first or even second list of priority locations” for improved sanitation systems.According to environmental protection agencies, blackwater contains “disease-causing bacteria and viruses that can result in human illness from direct contact, or by consumption of affected fish and shellfish.” Meanwhile, the World Health Organization, says greywater — untreated wastewater from bathtubs, showers and sinks — also poses a risk to human health, both through direct human contact and by introducing chemicals into marine food chains. The WHO recommends careful design to “avoid greywater leaching into groundwater or surface bodies of water.” But in Santa Teresa, the regulatory oversight is lacking. The Health Ministry, which oversees compliance with Costa Rica’s wastewater regulations, has a representative who only comes to Cóbano once a week on Thursdays. The morning I visited Cóbano’s Municipal Government offices, I was told that representative wouldn’t be in that day.According to Ronny Montero, who works as the Tax and Financial Administrator for the Municipal Council of Cóbano, the Health Ministry typically doesn’t conduct investigations in Santa Teresa unless there has been a formal claim submitted against a person or business. So last January, the Nicoya Peninsula Waterkeeper filed a claim before the Health Ministry in regards to the wastewater management of Selina, a hostel that had recently opened in Santa Teresa. It’s not so much that Selina’s setup was uniquely bad — they were properly treated, but allegedly improperly disposing of black and greywater — but Chavarría’s organization sought out the business as the largest hostel in the area.After 15 months of legal back-and-forth, Selina was ordered to enact a corrective plan to resolve the situation. Selina did not return multiple requests for comment.“If you don’t have money to follow environmental regulations, don’t open your business,” Chavarría said. “If you can’t afford chairs, if you can’t afford plates, you wouldn’t open a restaurant. It’s the same thing. Social responsibility starts with adhering to the laws. You have to start with that.“Nature has a capacity to clean itself, but not at the level we’re contaminating it.” But to Chavarría, fixing one business’s water-management issues in a rapidly changing town is akin to trying to cover the sun using only your finger. It just doesn’t fix the problem. “Nature has a capacity to clean itself, but not at the level we’re contaminating it.” (Alejandro Zúñiga / The Tico Times)* * *None of these issues, or the uneasy relationship between growth and oversight, are a surprise to the Municipal Government in Cóbano. Montero said he and the Municipal Council are fighting for the ability to do more. Even though Cóbano is relatively large — with a land area of more than 300 km2 — Montero explained any budget requests that would benefit the district have to go through the Municipality of Puntarenas, which consolidates what it submits to the Comptroller General’s Office. That means there are additional steps added to already-slow bureaucratic processes, delaying infrastructure improvements further. “This causes us to lose four months, five months, half a year,” Montero told The Tico Times. “And by the time a budget passes, sometimes it’s too late and contracts have expired — for example, for the machinery to fix the roads.” Vásquez, the district’s Environmental Manager, acknowledged that finding viable solutions to wastewater management is a slow process. “We must move forward strategically and look for solutions in the short, medium and long-term, in regard to sustainable development of Santa Teresa, while safeguarding our natural resources and favoring the economic development,” Vásquez said. A proposed law presented in April 2018 aims to elevate the status of Cóbano from a district to a canton, which, in addition to increasing accessibility to public services, would give representatives of Cóbano a bigger say in the province’s budgeting and planning. “It would give us better representation,” Montero said. “It gives us better access to resources, both local and international. It would give us more autonomy, and help remove limitations to our growth. “… It’s not a secret to anyone. We know the coastal towns are the ones that are responsible for a lot of tourism and growth, and they are changing quickly. But as a district, we cannot ignore the rest of the district. We need to pay attention to people throughout the district who are also living in vulnerable areas.” Vásquez said Cóbano has conducted feasibility studies with the Costa Rican Water and Sewer Institute but found the cost of a centralized wastewater treatment center prohibitively high. The municipality is also seeking partnerships with Costa Rican university students for more innovative, more cost-efficient solutions.   Meanwhile, groups like Nicoya Peninsula Waterkeeper have filled the void. In addition to their vigilance of potential wastewater violations and monthly beach cleanups, the non-government organization plans to open a recycling collection center for Cóbano by the end of the year. With the support of the community, they hope the center will reduce trash by 65 percent. They are also pushing for the Health Ministry to open an office in Cóbano. And ultimately, Chavarría, Montero and Vásquez agree everyone — from residents, to business owners, to tourists — needs to remain educated and vigilant while government resources try to catch up. They welcome outsiders to enjoy the white-sand beaches, untouched islands and jungle-covered hills. But if you’re visiting, they say, make sure your actions preserve that natural beauty for those who will follow. “We are all responsible,” Montero said. “It’s my responsibility as a hotel owner to run things well. It’s my responsibility as a hotel guest to denounce them if they are not running things well. A lot of people are afraid to speak up, so they stay quiet. You can’t stay quiet.”For more information about the Nicoya Peninsula Waterkeeper, visit their website here. Read more about Costa Rica’s sewage systems here.Read all of our Santa Teresa features here. This story was made possible thanks to the donations from Tico Times 5% Club. The TT5% club is a small group of readers who donate at least $2 a month to keep our newsroom operational. That’s how we’re able to bring you stories like these. Become a member of The Tico Times 5% club and helps us spread more light on issues like these.Support the Tico Times Facebook Comments Related posts:Restaurant grease turned cooking gas for Guanacaste police station Op-ed: Reduce and Recycle to Remain Relevant in Global Tourism Costa Rican tourism cop locked up and robbed at police station Thousands of dead fish found in Caribbean riverslast_img read more

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2 pig heads hung outside mosque in France

first_img Sponsored Stories New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Top Stories Check your body, save your life More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Comments   Share   center_img Brigitte Bareges condemned “this odious and blasphemous act toward the Muslim community.”Police have opened an investigation. Muslim leaders said the vandalism was especially shocking because it happened during the holy month of Ramadan.“This was meant to dirty this place of prayer,” said Abdallah Zekri, a regional Muslim leader based in Nimes. He said by telephone that he has a “sense of disgust.”It was the first such incident in Montauban, near the city of Toulouse. In 2009, pig feet were hung on a mosque in Castres, also in southern France, and a Nazi swastika was painted on its walls along with racist and nationalist slogans.The discovery of the pig heads came a day after officials in the northern Paris suburb of Gennevilliers reinstated four summer camp counselors who had been suspended for Ramadan fasting. After an outcry, the town decided that during the month of August it would not apply a clause in the labor contract requiring summer camp counselors to be fully fed and hydrated, a statement said.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) PARIS (AP) – Two pig heads were found hanging at the entrance of a mosque in southern France on Wednesday, in the latest incident of what Muslim leaders say is rising Islamophobia in the country.The mayor of Montauban denounced what she described as intimidation of Muslims after the heads were discovered in the early morning attached to two pillars at the entrance of the Salam Mosque, a huge pool of blood on the ground. Pigs are considered unclean by Muslims, who are forbidden from eating pork. Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Quick workouts for men 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breacheslast_img read more

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Poland makes payout to alleged victims of CIA renditions

first_imgFILE – In this Sunday, Oct. 15, 2000 file photo, investigators in a speed boat examine the hull of the USS Cole at the Yemeni port of Aden, after a powerful explosion ripped a hole in the U.S Navy destroyer, killing at least 17 sailors and injuring some 30 others. Poland is paying a quarter of a million dollars to terror suspects Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi national accused in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole warship and a second terror suspect Abu Zubaydah, who were allegedly tortured by the CIA in a secret facility in Poland – prompting outrage among many here who feel they are being punished for American wrongdoing. (AP Photo/Dimitri Messinis, file) Top Stories WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland is paying a quarter of a million dollars to two terror suspects allegedly tortured by the CIA in a secret facility in this country — prompting outrage among many here who feel they are being punished for American wrongdoing.Europe’s top human rights court imposed the penalty against Poland, setting a Saturday deadline.It irks many in Poland that their country is facing legal repercussions for the secret rendition and detention program which the CIA operated under then-President George W. Bush in several countries across the world after the 9/11 attacks. Human rights lawyers for the two suspects take a different view, stressing that neither of the two men has ever been found guilty in a court of law. They say they were subjected to torture, and that their rights continue to be violated as they remain held at Guantanamo without trial.Al-Nashiri is expected to be tried by a military commission, though it hasn’t started yet, and he could face the death penalty.Abu Zubaydah was subjected repeatedly to waterboarding, death threats, ice baths, sleep deprivation and a vast array of other harsh techniques, according to the Senate Intelligence Committee report. He remains in custody since 2002 with no charges ever being brought against him.It’s a limbo that was predicted in 2002 by CIA terror experts, according to the Senate report. In a 2002 email to CIA headquarters, the CIA’s interrogators said they wanted assurances that Zubaydah would never be allowed to publicly describe what they were doing to him, recommending that he should “remain incommunicado for the remainder of his life.”“This secret rendition program was generated by the CIA, but it could not have taken place without the active collaboration of states like Poland,” said Singh, a lawyer with the Open Society Justice Initiative who represented al-Nashiri before the European court. “Had states like Poland said no to this, torture would not have happened.” Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments   Share   Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement The ruling by the European Court of Human Rights also required Poland to seek diplomatic guarantees from the United States that the suspects not face the death penalty, a request that Poland sent several weeks ago. That move was largely symbolic given that a foreign government cannot dictate such a matter to the United States. But the court wanted Poland to make a “good faith effort” to pressure its U.S. ally not to impose the death penalty, said Adam Bodnar, a human rights lawyer with the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, who has been a sharp critic of Poland’s role in the detention program.The ruling is also generating anger across the Atlantic. The father of one of the U.S. sailors killed in attack on the USS Cole, Jesse Nieto, says he finds it unjust that a man suspected in the killing of his son Marc and 16 others should receive money.“This is highly upsetting,” Nieto said. “And I think Poland is crazy for paying this.”But Nieto is even more disturbed by the European court pressing the United States not to execute him.“Why should they dictate what is going to be the ruling of a U.S. court?” Nieto, a 71-year-old retired Marine, said from his home in Newnan, Georgia. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home It ordered Warsaw to pay 130,000 euros ($147,000) to Zubaydah, a Palestinian, and 100,000 euros ($113,000) to al-Nashiri, a Saudi national charged with orchestrating the attack in 2000 on the USS Cole that killed 17 U.S. sailors.Poland appealed the ruling but lost in February. Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna said at the time that “we will abide by this ruling because we are a law-abiding country.”Bartlomiej Jankowski, a Polish lawyer representing Abu Zubaydah, said his client wants the money he is awarded to go to an organization that helps women and children displaced or otherwise victimized by war. The exact organization has not been decided on yet because of limits U.S. officials have placed on Zubaydah’s communications with his lawyers. In the meantime the money will be kept in a fund, Jankowski said.A lawyer for al-Nashiri, Amrit Singh, refused to disclose how his money will be used.Poland apparently received millions of dollars from the United States when it allowed the site to operate in 2002 and 2003, last year’s report on the renditions program by the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee said in a section that appears to refer to Poland though the country name was redacted. Sponsored Stories So far no U.S. officials have been held accountable, but the European Court of Human Rights has shown that it doesn’t want to let European powers that helped the program off the hook. The court also ordered Macedonia in 2012 to pay 60,000 euros ($68,000) to a Lebanese-German man who was seized in Macedonia on erroneous suspicion of terrorist ties and subjected to abuse by the CIA.The Polish Foreign Ministry said Friday that it was processing the payments. However, neither Polish officials nor the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw would give any further details.Witold Waszczykowski, an opposition lawmaker, says he considers the punishment unfair because the suspects were in the sole custody of American officials during their entire stay in Poland in 2002 and 2003 — and never under Polish authority.“I think we shouldn’t pay, we shouldn’t respect this judgment,” Waszczykowski said. “This is a case not between us and them — it’s between them and the United States government.”The European Court of Human Rights ruled last July that Poland violated the rights of suspects Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri by allowing the CIA to imprison them and by failing to stop the “torture and inhuman or degrading treatment” of the inmates. 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes 3 international destinations to visit in 2019last_img read more

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Yemeni rebel leader backs new UN peace talks in Geneva

first_img SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Peace talks on Yemen will begin next week in Geneva, the U.N. announced Wednesday, as the international community tries to end weeks of Saudi-led airstrikes against an Iran-supported rebel group and a growing humanitarian crisis that has left millions short of food and fuel.As fighting in the Arab world’s poorest country continued with airstrikes against the rebels in at least five of Yemen’s northern provinces, the question quickly turned to who would show up for the talks starting May 28. Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Sponsored Stories In a positive sign, the leader of the Houthi rebels, Abdul-Malek al-Houthi, called the talks the “only solution” for the conflict that the U.N. says has killed more than 1,800 people since mid-March.Yemen’s U.N. Ambassador Khaled Alyemany said the government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, now in exile in neighboring Saudi Arabia, will be represented at a high level, perhaps by the vice president.But a top Hadi aide, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media, reiterated earlier government demands that the Houthis first pull out of towns and cities, including the capital, Sanaa, that they captured starting last year. He said the government wouldn’t give up its condition for the talks.In a speech broadcast on the rebels’ TV channel, al-Houthi gave no indication his forces would heed the demands to withdraw and instead called for new recruits and new training camps.U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon has urged all parties to engage in talks without preconditions, stressing the only way to resolve Yemen’s conflict is through an “inclusive, negotiated political settlement.” Ban was expected to attend the start of the Geneva talks. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies The council has also demanded the Houthis withdraw before any formal talks.The rebels and their allies, Saleh loyalists, this week boycotted a gathering held in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, that was billed as a peace conference on Yemen.Meanwhile, the Saudi-led coalition continued to pound the Houthis and their allies Wednesday in at least five northern provinces under rebel control, including Sanaa. In the western city of Ibb, warplanes struck a police commando camp run by Saleh’s loyalists, killing at least 12 and wounding 17, officials said.In the strategic port city of Aden, the rebels and their allies randomly shelled residential areas, killing one woman and wounding three, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters.The Houthis also continued to retaliate for the Saudi-led attacks by engaging in clashes in the border area of Jizan on Wednesday and killing one Saudi soldier, according to Saudi news site Sabq.The Yemeni conflict has killed 1,820 people and wounded 7,330 since March 19, according to U.N. estimates, with nearly a half million people displaced through May 7.International aid groups on Wednesday urged the warring parties to agree to a ceasefire, saying a five-day truce that was breached several times and expired this week was not enough for humanitarian aid to be delivered. The Saudi-led coalition’s air and sea blockade has been criticized for severely slowing aid delivery. “The amount of aid allowed in barely scratched the surface of the humanitarian catastrophe,” said Grace Ommer, Oxfam’s director for Yemen.But the Saudi ambassador to the U.N., al-Moualimi, told reporters that any further humanitarian pauses would be a military decision and will be based on the situation on the ground, specifically, “whether the Houthis are complying with such a pause.”Also Wednesday, the U.N. said an Iranian ship with humanitarian supplies was heading to Djibouti, where the U.N. has its hub for the distribution of aid for Yemen. The ship, which had stirred controversy, was originally reported to be heading to Yemen’s Hodeida port.Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian told the semi-official ISNA news agency that the vessel called Nejat, or Rescue, will travel to Yemen in “full coordination with the U.N.”___Anna reported from the United Nations. Associated Press writers Edith M. Lederer at the United nations and Ali Akbar Dareini in Tehran, Iran, contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.center_img The Geneva talks will be a test for the U.N.’s new envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, who this month held meetings with rival political players in the country. At the time, the Houthis expressed readiness to resume peace talks in a “neutral” country.Both the Yemeni ambassador and the Saudi ambassador to the U.N., Abdallah Al-Moualimi, on Wednesday ruled out Iran’s participation in Geneva. Western countries accuse the Shiite power of backing the Houthis militarily, something the Islamic Republic and the rebels deny.“There is no place for Iran in the consultations in Geneva,” Al-Moualimi told reporters. “They have not been playing a constructive role, and as such cannot be rewarded by having a seat at the table.”The U.N. has not said exactly who has been invited to the talks but has described them as U.N.-facilitated discussions among Yemeni parties. U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said the format of the talks was still being worked out.Haq said Ahmed is expected to visit Tehran on Thursday for meetings with Iranian officials on Yemen.The Yemeni ambassador, Alyemany, also said former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and Houthi figures on a U.N. sanctions list would not participate in the talks. The Security Council this year imposed an arms embargo on Houthi leaders and on Saleh, who stepped down in 2012 as part of a U.N.-guided transition. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility A Yemeni man, who was stranded in Egypt after conflict broke out in Yemen, prays and kisses the ground after arriving at Sanaa airport, Yemen, Wednesday, May 20, 2015. The airport was opened temporarily as two planes, one from India and one from Egypt, arrived carrying more than 300 Yemeni. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed) Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Comments   Share   Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober The difference between men and women when it comes to painlast_img read more

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US Turkey seek to establish Islamic Statefree zone

first_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Sponsored Stories ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — The United States and Turkey are finalizing plans for a military campaign to push the Islamic State out of a strip of land along the Syrian border, deepening efforts to halt the extremists’ advances.A U.S. official said the creation of an “Islamic State-free zone” would ensure greater security and stability in the Turkish-Syrian border region. However, the official said any joint military efforts with Turkey would not include the imposition of a no-fly zone, a step Washington has long resisted despite Turkish requests. The discussions come amid a major tactical shift in Turkey’s approach to the Islamic State. After months of reluctance, Turkish warplanes started striking militant targets in Syria last week, following a long-awaited agreement allowing the U.S. to launch its own strikes from the strategically located Incirlik Air Base.The official insisted on anonymity because this person was not authorized to publicly discuss the talks with Turkey.Despite the U.S. and Turkey’s shared interests in fighting the Islamic State, the Turks have also prioritized defeating Syrian President Bashar Assad. While the U.S. says Assad has lost legitimacy, it has not taken direct military action to try to remove him from office.Turkey’s new airstrike campaign also includes a second front targeting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK. The U.S. has relied on Syrian Kurdish fighters affiliated with the PKK to help make gains against the Islamic State.Turkey accuses the PKK of not keeping pledges to withdraw armed fighters from its territory and disarm. The Turks are also concerned that gains made by Kurds in Iraq and in Syria could encourage its own minority to seek independence.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Four benefits of having a wireless security system Comments   Share   center_img Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Men’s health affects baby’s health too How do cataracts affect your vision? Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitylast_img read more

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Pan Pacific Hotels enter Australian market

first_imgPan Pacific is bringing the PARKROYAL brand back home, entering Australia with three properties, Pan Pacific Hotels Group President A. Patrick Imbardelli announced last night.“As we’ve refreshed the Pan Pacific and PARKROYAL brand, we’ve looked for where opportunities are available to us,” Mr Imbardelli said.“We are delighted to be able to introduce the Pan Pacific hallmark of personalised service even as we reconnect the PARKROYAL brand with consumers, guests, and all of our stakeholders in this market.”“This marks the growth of the hotel group’s portfolio,” Chan Hse May Pan Pacific Hotels Group told e-Travel Blackboard.The Singapore-listed company manages over 30 hotels, resorts and services suites across Asia and North America and will soon make moves to extend its footprint.Eric Levy Senior Vice President, Growth and Development for the hotel group told e-Travel Blackboard of plans to open 7 hotels in 2010 globally.“The pipeline is well-developed,” he said.Founded in Melbourne in 1962, the PARKROYAL brand will open PARKROYAL Darling Harbour in Sydney and PARKROYAL Parramatta in November 2010.With a new logo and an international focus, “the PARKROYAL is not the same brand it was eight years ago,” Imbardelli, one time Regional General Manager of PARKROYAL in New Zealand told industry colleagues.“The PARKROYAL is a brand that behaves regionally but acts locally.”Meanwhile, the Pan Pacific Perth, currently undergoing refurbishment, will open in January 2011. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: G.A Nigel Roberts, A. Patrick Imbardelli and Eric Levylast_img read more

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Class action against price fixing freight cartel

first_imgTwenty-one international carriers are facing a class-action lawsuit in Korea for years of allegedly price fixing foreign freight services for years. The class-action follows the issuing of a combined 120 billion won (US$98.9 million) in fines to 19 local and foreign freight companies by the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) for years of price fixing, reports the Korea Herald. Two international carriers also received warnings from the FTC, who described the companies involved as part of the “biggest global cartel”, following their practices of unfairly introducing or changing fuel surcharges between 1999 and 2007. A group of Korean cargo transport companies are heading the class-action, which is one of only two class-action lawsuits ever to be brought against Korean cartel members by a consumer group.The second consumer group led class-action is still in progress and accuses LPG companies of fixing LPG prices between 2003 and 2008, according to legal and retail officials. The FTC has said that it will work with the consumer groups towards compensation. “Cargo companies were seriously damaged by carriers’ price-fixing practices over the years and we are to bring an action for damages against them,” said Lee Dae-soon, a lawyer representing the consumer group. “The level of disciplinary action taken by the FTC was lower than what we expected in the beginning for they even reduced the amount of fines to carriers that self-reported their business malpractices,” he added. The original fines imposed by the FTC were the first of their kind to be given to a global cartel by the state-run watchdog. But legal experts have reportedly cast doubt on the class-actions’ chances of success, as only securities-related class-action lawsuits are recognized in current Korean law.The 19 airlines listed by the Korea Herald as having received fines are Korean Air, Asiana Airlines, Lufthansa, Malaysia Airlines, Swiss International Air Lines, Singapore Airlines, Air France, Air France-KLM, Air Hong Kong, British Airways, Japan Airlines, Nippon Cargo Airlines, All Nippon Airways, Cargolux Airlines, Cathay Pacific, KLM Airlines, Qantas Airways, Thai Airlines and Polar Airlines. <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/2a2a3/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Source = e-Travel Blackboard: S.Flast_img read more

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FCm online tools netting government clients

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: M.H FCm Travel Solutions is luring an increasing number of public sector clients through its technology services as the corporate travel agent continues its work with the Federal Government on simplifying public sector travel.          FCm regional director of sales Rob Dell says his company’s technology not only helps governments “streamline the travel booking process” but helps “drive ‘traveller behaviour’ to achieve maximum savings” as well.      “A drawcard for many government agencies has been FCm’s technology including our online booking and reporting tools, which can be configured to suit each and every government agency,” he said. “Data from e3, our online booking tool, in conjunction with our reporting tool provides government agencies with improved visibility of their travel patterns, spend and traveller behaviour.”  FCm was one of five travel providers appointed to a panel to tender for government jobs in July 2010 and has since taken on “a significant volume” of new government business, now working closely with over 39 public service agencies.“Our success to date is due to our ability to provide unique travel management solutions for each agency that will deliver ongoing time, cost and resource efficiencies,” Mr Dell said. “Since being appointed last year we have been helping various government agencies implement strategies to enhance their travel policies, online booking solutions, data reporting and travel sourcing through our sales and account management approach.In addition to offering technology solutions, FCm has done significant work on travel policy development for the public sector, as well as comprehensive traveller training and education.last_img read more

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Govt business grants to boost QLD tourism

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: S.P In an effort to boost Queensland’s Tourism sector the state government has offered business grants for up to 75,000 to attract financial backers, with a total of 500,000 being made available.Although the Queensland Tourism Industry (QTIC) has welcomed the grants, QTIC spokesperson Daniel Gschwind said attracting overseas investment must be a multipronged approach, the ABC reported.”The grants will help it’s an incentive that will push some projects along when it probably would have taken much longer without it or may not have happened at all,” he said.”Those grants are certainly very attractive to some investors who are looking for that extra kick-a-long to make it a reality.”Mr Gschwind said he was eager to see the grant result in new theme parks or accommodation structures being developed in national parks.”There’s no doubt that we could do more with our natural assets from a tourism point of view in a sustainable way,” Mr Gschwind said.”It doesn’t threaten the assets and we can not only keep the assets, but we can actually generate income and employment for regional Queensland.”We do have to do better at it to remain competitive.”last_img read more

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Virgin Galactic 2014 takeoff

first_imgThe SpaceShip Two VSS Enterprise has already completed two successful test flights, reaching supersonic speeds. “We couldn’t be more delighted to have another major supersonic milestone under our belts as we move toward a 2014 start of commercial service,” Mr Branson said. “We’re going to be able to monitor if a ship is fishing illegally – we can spot it live through our satellites. We can check if people are hunting down rhinos,” Mr Branson said. Virgin Galactic is on track to begin flying passengers to space next year, with founder Richard Branson claiming the expeditions will have “transformative” repercussions for the world. Source = ETB News: P.T. The Virgin founder was quick to highlight the “transformative” prospects of this mode of travel. Speaking to delegates earlier this year at the 2013 Social Good Summit, the Virgin Group founder and serial entrepreneur claimed that commercial space travel is about to become a reality, Yahoo! News reported.  Virgin Galactic plans to build a fleet of spacecraft, each capable of carrying six passengers on suborbital space flights, while Hollywood stars Angelina Jolie, Ashton Kutcher, Brad Pitt, Justin Bieber, Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio have already signed on to visit outer-space. Virgin will transport passengers aboard its own Virgin Intergalactic craft for approximately US$250,000 return, already taking over US$70 million in deposits from 580 potential travellers.last_img read more

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Etihad Airways goes mobile

first_imgEtihad Airways has streamlined the boarding process for its passengers by introducing mobile boarding passes on select routes.The introduction of the mobile boarding is more environmentally friendly and the airline claims it will lead to less boarding pass losses.The service will be available for guests on Abu Dhabi, London Heathrow, Manchester, Doha, Colombo, Dammam, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Sao Paulo, Istanbul, Minsk, Munich, and Tokyo Narita.Etihad Airways chief commercial officer Peter Baumgartner said that mobile boarding will make life easier for passengers.“Our aim is to simplify and streamline the departure and boarding experience, the elimination of paper boarding passes will be more convenient for our guests and reduce our environmental footprint, which is good for the guest, the business and for the environment,” Mr Baumgartner said.The new mobile boarding passes will include guest name, seat number, flight number, gate number and a barcode which will be scanned by an electronic reader before departure.Passengers will be able to receive mobile boarding passes directly to their smart phones or save them using the Passbook feature if they have IOS phones.Source = ETB News: Tom Nealelast_img read more

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Philippines Tourism wins Best NTO Award

first_imgPhilippines Tourism wins ‘Best NTO Award’Philippines Tourism won the “Best National Tourism Organization” for 2015 at the West India Travel Awards held in Goa on October 14, 2015. The award recognizes the outstanding contribution of Philippines Tourism in promoting its products through its branding campaign of Visit the Philippines Year (VPY) 2015, participation in trade events like OTM Mumbai and GPS Nagpur and roadshows in India, particularly in the cities of Lucknow, Nagpur, Chandigarh and New Delhi. Most corporates have their headquarters in Mumbai and decision to travel is made from here – therefore DOT has been aggressively encouraging trade partners to promote the Philippines to their clients through sales visits and presentations.The Philippines is expected to see tourist arrivals exceeding 100,000 by 2017. The Indian market has continued to be one of the important contributors of international visitors to the Philippines. In 2014, over 61,000 Indians visited the Philippines, registering a growth of 17.14 percent. The Department of Tourism (DOT), Philippines has welcomed about 48,495 Indian tourists during the first eight months of this year, recording an increase of 22.49 per cent, over the same months in 2014. Month of February in 2015 showed the impressive growth of arrivals to almost 40 percent. The growth in arrivals could be attributed to the marketing efforts and participation of the country in international travel fairs as well as tourism infrastructure development being undertaken. India is a growing outbound tourist markets and are an important source of visitors to the Philippines. There is now Visa-free entry for Indian travelers having valid and current AJACSS UK visas (US, Japan, Australia, Canada, Schengen, Singapore and UK). Indian travellers are allowed visa-free entry into Philippines for 14 days and can enter from all international airports and seaports.It is a very prestigious award, and we are proud to have won the award in Best NTO category. We have been working hard towards promoting Philippines as a preferred choice of tourist destination, and an award such as this, helps us believe we have achieved what we had set out for and further reinforces our motivation to work harder to increase India arrivals to the Philippines,’’ said Ms. Navritu Kaushal Rai, Account Director, Philippines Tourism Marketing Office, India, who received the award.This prestigious annual event honors stellar organizations and achievers from different segments of the industry, which included travel agents, tour operators, hotels, airlines, and state & international tourism boards. The winners of the awards were defined by a fair and unbiased selection process done through online voting and judged by a panel of jury consisting of the travel industry’s luminaries.Source = Philippines Tourismlast_img read more

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