Historic first commercial flight from US to Cuba since Cold War

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Wednesday, August 31, 2016 Tags: Cuba Historic first commercial flight from U.S. to Cuba since Cold War FORT LAUDERDALE — The first commercial flight between the United States and Cuba in more than a half century is scheduled to fly from Fort Lauderdale to the central city of Santa Clara on Wednesday morning, re-establishing regular air service severed at the height of the Cold War.JetBlue Flight 387 was set to take off at 9:45 a.m. EDT for a 72-minute journey that will open a new era of U.S.-Cuba travel, with about 300 flights a week connecting the U.S. with an island cut off from most Americans by the 55-year-old trade embargo on Cuba and formal ban on U.S. citizens engaging in tourism on the island.“Seeing the American airlines landing routinely around the island will drive a sense of openness, integration and normality. That has a huge psychological impact,” said Richard Feinberg, author of the new book “Open for Business: Building the New Cuban Economy.”The restart of commercial travel between the two countries is one of the most important steps in President Barack Obama’s two-year-old policy of normalizing relations with the island. Historians disagree on the exact date of the last commercial flight but it appears to have been after Cuba banned incoming flights during the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.Secretary of State John Kerry said on Twitter that the last commercial flight was in 1961.U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes and a specially selected five-member crew of Cuban-Americans were slated to be on board the 150-seat Airbus A320.More news:  Beep, beep! Transat hits the streets with Cubamania truck“It’s a positive step and a concrete contribution to the process of improving relations between the two countries,” Cuba’s vice minister of transportation Eduardo Rodriguez told journalists Monday.Neta Rodriguez, a 62-year-old Havana-born South Florida homemaker, checked in Wednesday morning with her daughter, son-in-law and three grandsons for a visit to family in Santa Clara and Havana.More than the historic nature of the flight, she said she appreciated the $200 price and the ability to book online instead of visiting a charter office.U.S. travel to Cuba is on track to triple this year to more than 300,000 visitors in the wake of the 2014 declaration of detente. Cuba’s cash-starved centrally planned economy has been bolstered by the boom in U.S. visitors, along with hundreds of thousands of travellers from other nations hoping to see Cuba before more Americans arrive.Commercial flights are expected to significantly increase the number of American visitors, although it’s not clear by how much. Many of the air routes are currently used by expensive charter flights that are largely expected to go out of business with the advent of regularly scheduled service from the U.S.Hundreds of thousands of Cuban-born Americans fly to the island each year with the chaotic, understaffed charter companies, which require four-hour check-in waits and charge high rates for any luggage in excess of restrictive baggage allowances. Americans without ties to Cuba have found it hard to negotiate the charters, most of which don’t accept online bookings or help travellers navigate the federal affidavit still required for U.S. travellers to Cuba.More news:  Virgin Voyages de-activates Quebec accounts at FirstMates agent portalCuban officials insist the continuing U.S. ban on tourism will limit the impact of commercial flights to Cuba, but some experts believe the drastic reduction in the difficulty of flying to Cuba could turn the surge in U.S. visitors into a tidal wave. Americans are allowed to visit the island on “people-to-people” cultural and educational visits, among other reasons.Americans who fit one of 12 categories will now be able to fill out a federal affidavit by clicking a box on an online form and, in many cases, buy their Cuban tourist visa near the check-in counters of U.S. airports. Within weeks, Americans will be able to fly direct from cities including Chicago, Philadelphia and Minneapolis, Miami and Fort Lauderdale to eight Cuban cities and two beach resorts.The final announcement of routes to Havana, which could be announced Wednesday and start before December, is slated to include flights from Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles and Houston, among others. The Canadian Press Posted bylast_img read more

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Hot off the press American Queen Steamboat Companys 2019 brochure

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> NEW ALBANY — American Queen Steamboat Company has released its 2019 deluxe brochure, featuring 100 full-colour pages and a comprehensive overview of river cruise offerings in the United States.Now in its eight season, the U.S.-flagged cruise line comprises three ships that were inspired by the great steamboats of the 19th century: American Queen, American Empress, and American Duchess. These ships will embark on a variety of itineraries in 2019, sailing along the mighty Mississippi to such beloved destinations as Nashville, Chicago and more.“Our new brochure vividly captures the authentic American experience we provide to our guests that has no equal in terms of cuisine, hospitality, extraordinary entertainment, and unique experiences ashore,” shares American Queen Steamboat Company President and COO Ted L. Sykes. “After our record setting 2017 season we’re excited to move full steam ahead as we welcome back many returning guests and share our experience with others for the very first time.”Highlights of the 2019 season include:Mighty Mississippi cruises give guests the best chance to experience the most storied river in America. With 16- and 23-day cruises covering the length of the Mississippi from Red Wing, MN to New Orleans, guests will be transported back in time. Stops in storied river ports like Natchez, MS, Hannibal, MO, Memphis, TN, St. Louis, MO, and Paducah, KY provide excitement and give guests the opportunity to explore some of the most vibrant ports in America.New itineraries on the Ohio, Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers as well as on the Upper Mississippi River including stops in Pittsburgh, PA, one of the grandest river towns in the country. Other new itineraries include Cincinnati, OH to Memphis, TN, Louisville, KY to Pittsburgh, PA and vice versa, and Nashville, TN to Chattanooga, TN and vice versa.Racing on the River theme cruise on the American Duchess offers guests the chance to experience the heritage of small town America. Themed racing events include a five-kilometre run in Augusta, Kentucky, and watching a horse race at the famed track at Churchill Downs in Louisville.More news:  Hotel charges Bollywood star $8.50 for two bananas and the Internet has thoughtsThe all-new luxury paddlewheeler American Duchess can carry up to 166 guests and offers 46 sailings in 2019, with new stops and overnights in ports like Nashville and Chicago.American Empress, the largest and most elegant riverboat west of the Mississippi, carries 223 guests and will embark on its sixth season sailing the Pacific Northwest beginning March 3, 2019. It will offer 38 departure dates sailing between Portland/Vancouver, Wash., and Clarkston, Wash., and feature stops along the Columbia and Snake Rivers such as Multnomah Falls, Mt., St. Helens and the Walla Walla Wine Trail.Embarking on its eight season on Feb. 17, 2019, the American Queen will offer 43 itineraries next year, with each voyage steeped in history. Highlights include pre-cruise hotel stays in New Orleans and tracing the steps of Mark Twain in Hannibal, MO.Nine-day sailings on the American Queen start at US$2,099, while American Empress fare begin at $2,099. American Duchess fares start at $2,399. All nine-day journeys include a one-night, pre-voyage hotel stay, shore tours in all ports, complimentary wine and beer with dinner and a host of other amenities.More news:  Visit Orlando unveils new travel trade tools & agent perksFor more details go to AmericanQueenSteamboatCompany.com. Tags: American Queen Steamboat Company, Brochures Travelweek Group Posted bycenter_img Hot off the press: American Queen Steamboat Company’s 2019 brochure Friday, March 2, 2018 Sharelast_img read more

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The latest news on Canada Jetlines startup date

first_imgThe latest news on Canada Jetlines’ start-up date Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by Wednesday, May 9, 2018 VANCOUVER — Don’t count Canada Jetlines out yet.The would-be ultra low-cost carrier has provided an update on recent corporate developments related to aircraft acquisition, and a possible start-up date.Back in March the company announced it was delaying its June 2018 launch, saying it wouldn’t have a new launch date confirmed until the second quarter of 2018.With this latest update, Jetlines says it concluded a term sheet on April 23 to lease two Airbus A320 aircraft and made a deposit payment of US$876,000.The company says the term sheet is subject to executing a definitive lease agreement and other conditions.Once a definitive lease agreement is concluded for these aircraft, Canada Jetlines says it “will be able to provide new guidance to the market on its projected start-up date and aircraft delivery schedule.”The company said it is targeting the conclusion of a definitive lease agreement before the end of Q2 2018.“In the interim Jetlines continues to advance its efforts with personnel recruitment, airport agreements, the licensing process and the financing plan.”More news:  Visit Orlando unveils new travel trade tools & agent perksIf Canada Jetlines does get off the ground it faces competition from Flair Airlines, already operating with several gateways across Canada, and WestJet’s Swoop, scheduled to launch June 20. Sharelast_img read more

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Getting Uncomfortable at industry MeToo event inspires new possibilities

first_img Posted by Wednesday, October 3, 2018 Devin Kinasz Tags: Events, Young Travel Professionals, YTP Getting ‘Uncomfortable’ at industry #MeToo event inspires new possibilitiescenter_img Share << Previous PostNext Post >> TORONTO — Things got a little ‘uncomfortable’, but the first ever travel industry event addressing #MeToo issues left guests more knowledgeable about the problem and inspired about the possibility of everyone feeling safe, without fear of sexual harassment.Led by a panel of travel professionals and public educators, ‘Let’s Get Uncomfortable’ centred on issues of workplace inequity, sexual harassment and the importance of bystander intervention. It was hosted by Young Travel Professionals (YTP) in partnership with Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, sponsored by G Adventures and Planeterra.According to the event organizers, Britney Hope, Account Manager – Media Relations at Bannikin, Annie Ewing, Independent Travel Advisor, TTI Travel and Terrilyn Kunopaski, Editor-in-Chief, CT Magazine & Canadian Traveller, the travel industry can be an uncomfortable place for many people.“’Does that mean I get to spank you?’ ‘Do I get to pull your f***ing hair right now?’ These are real quotes from women in this room said to them by their travel industry colleagues,” says Kunopaski, the panel moderator. “Unfortunately, as much as the #MeToo movement has accomplished over the past year, the travel industry still struggles to even acknowledge that gender-based discrimination and harassment are deeply embedded problems.”The event’s expert educators included Julie Lalonde, a women’s rights advocate and public educator, and Farrah Khan, manager of Ryerson’s Office of Sexual Violence Support and Education.Panel members included Amrita Bhalla, managing director, A.B Consulting and sessional lecturer at Ryerson University; Shalene Dudley, owner, Latitude Concierge Travels; Brad Ford, President of Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold; and Rhea Simms, global coordinator for the Planeterra Foundation.More news:  ‘Turn around year’ for TPI brings double-digit growthWhile the panel conversation touched on enough subject matter for a dozen more events, it is clear that some shifts in our personal attitudes could help spur company and industry wide positive change too.Here are some of the main takeaways from the event:Sexual harassment goes well beyond physical assault and inappropriate, sexually suggestive comments should also not be tolerated or laughed off as a joke.It is no longer acceptable to be a passive bystander watching bad behavior unfold, it is everyone’s responsibility to keep people safe and feeling comfortable. You can bring it up on the spot, for example, “What you said wasn’t cool” or you may feel it best to bring it up privately. In either case, the onus is on the perpetrator to figure out why their behaviour is unacceptable. Don’t feel like it’s your job to explain.Coming forward as a victim is extremely stressful and life-changing, so there’s needs to be as much support as possible so people don’t feel further ostracized and harassed. The biggest thing victims of sexual assault need is your support, so listen to them and help them take any next steps that might be necessary.Creating a safe work environment for victims to come forward is of utmost important for individuals and companies alike, but must always be left to the discretion of victims.Everyone should also reflect on whether they are personally approachable with these types of issues and whether people have felt safe sharing their stories with you. If not, you might want to understand why to help make people feel more comfortable in the future.Businesses of all sizes must put transparent, well-publicized sexual harassment policies in place that include the reporting and investigating process, as well as the consequences for infractions.It is important to prioritize the empowerment of women so they may succeed at executive and board level positions. Currently, 5-8% of women hold board positions, even though they make up 70% of the workforce in the travel industry (Diageo Study).We need to become aware of the impact travel has in-destination on gender equality issues, just like some companies, like G Adventures, take pride in considering their environmental and economic impact.There are many resources available to people who have been victimized by sexual harassment. Information is available at www.letsgetuncomfortable.ca or call the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre at 416-597-8808.More news:  Sunwing to further boost Mazatlán service with new flights from OttawaThis is the first of many initiatives to keep the #MeToo conversation moving forward, says the three organizers, adding that they hope industry leaders who can make a difference within their organization will begin to take these issues more seriously.  This ‘uncomfortable’ event planted the seed of possibility that everyone can feel safe and enjoy the industry we love.last_img read more

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NASA questions Nicaraguas claim that meteorite caused massive weekend explosion

first_imgSeems we have a genuine mystery on our hands.Disbelievers took to social media almost instantly after Nicaraguan newspapers – mostly run by the Sandinista government – proclaimed a large explosion Saturday night likely was caused by a meteorite from the passing asteroid 2014 RC. Now the naysayers seem to be backed up by NASA scientists.On Monday, National Geographic, citing asteroid experts from NASA and MIT, all but refuted the claim by Wilfredo Strauss of the Nicaraguan Institute of Earth Studies that the explosion and its 12-meter-wide crater had something to do with 2014 RC.According to National Geographic:Managua residents reported the blast just after midnight. In some news reports, geophysicist Wilfried Strauch of Nicaragua’s Institute of Earth Studies attributed the crater to a meteorite impact.However, NASA asteroid expert Don Yeomans, author of Near-Earth Objects: Finding Them Before They Find Us, says that outside experts suspect the crater wasn’t caused by an impact.“This event was separated by 13 hours from the close Earth approach of 2014 RC, so the explosion and the asteroid are unrelated,” says Yeomans, because the Earth moves about 870,000 miles (1.4 million kilometers) in 13 hours. “There was no obvious optical fireball or debris trail seen prior to the explosion, so it seems unlikely that the explosion in Nicaragua was related to a meteorite impact.”The story also noted that the Chelyabinsk meteorite strike, which happened in February 2013, damaged buildings across central Russia, and the resulting fireball was “bright enough to sunburn some watchers.”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBvotWfR3j4According to Nicaraguan officials, the explosion Saturday occurred near Managua’s Augusto C. Sandino International Airport and a Nicaraguan Air Force base. The percussion shook buildings and roused sleeping residents many kilometers from the alleged point of impact. However, no one seems to have witnessed the light trails or visual flash that one would expect with a meteorite strike. Yesterday, The Nicaragua Dispatch said:Residents in the area report that they saw something “fall from the sky” in the area, while others reported liquid and debris falling from the sky after the explosion. Amid the confusion, Nicaraguans turned to social media to find information and express their frustration with government’s inability or unwillingness to provide answers.Citing the Nicaraguan daily La Prensa, the Dispatch said “soldiers blocked off the area with orders to ‘shoot at anything that appeared out of the ordinary.’”Several readers also noticed the absence of burn marks and charring around the crater. The government then released this photo, allegedly taken yesterday: A handout picture released by the Nicaraguan presidency press office shows two Nicaraguan soldiers standing guard at the site where an alleged “meteorite” struck on Sept. 7, 2014 in Managua. AFP/Presidencia/EL 19 Digital/German Miranda But the Dispatch’s Tim Rogers isn’t buying it, saying on Facebook:So now that NASA is raising questions about whether Managua was really impacted by a meteorite, let me cast another doubt. Something about this picture, which was allegedly taken right after the crater was discovered, seems very odd to me. The path cleared through the brush by the army sappers does not appear to be only a few hours old. Cut grass does not die and turn sun-scorched brown that quickly, even if the area was heavily trafficked for a few hours. To me, that path looks several days, if not weeks, old and trodden. But, wait, that would mean there was a path to the crater site long before the meteorite hit…Government spokeswoman and First Lady Rosario Murillo (President Daniel Ortega never talks to reporters) says she has appealed for help from international experts to solve the mystery.Sort of.Said Murillo: “We’ve invited the relevant international organizations” to “provide information on similar incidents.”We’ll be anxiously awaiting the results.AFP contributed to this report. Facebook Comments Related posts:A canal across Nicaragua: Is this for real? Will the Nicaragua Canal ruin the ‘Galapagos of Central America’? Nicaragua can’t stop dreaming of a canal Nicaraguan indigenous, Afro-Caribbeans sue government over pressure for inter-oceanic canallast_img read more

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Group Liberia militias attacking Ivorian villages

first_imgIvory Coast was brought to the brink of civil war when former President Laurent Gbagbo refused to cede power to Ouattara in a 2010 election. The U.N. estimates at least 3,000 people were killed in the six months of violence that followed. Gbagbo was arrested with the help of U.N. and French forces in April 2011, and is now facing charges of war crimes at The Hague.Both sides handed out weapons and recruited young men to fight during the conflict. Several thousand Liberian mercenaries joined the fight, the vast majority for Gbagbo’s side, Human Rights Watch says. Following Gbagbo’s arrest, many of the mercenaries and militiamen who fought for him fled across the porous border into Liberia’s forests, or clandestinely, into its refugee camps.The New York-based rights group says the Liberian government has failed to respond to the presence of armed groups on the border or to the recruitment of child soldiers.“Rather than uphold its responsibility to prosecute or extradite those involved in international crimes, Liberian authorities have stood by as many of these same people recruit child soldiers and carry out deadly cross-border attacks,” said Matt Wells, West Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Associated PressACCRA, Ghana (AP) – Armed groups in Liberia who supported Ivory Coast’s former president have killed at least 40 civilians in cross-border raids into Ivory Coast since July and are recruiting children as young as 14 into their ranks, a human rights group said Wednesday.Human Rights Watch says the armed men, most of whom fought for Ivory Coast’s former president and flooded over the border to Liberia following his arrest, carried out at least four attacks targeting ethnic groups who support Ivory Coast’s current president, Alassane Ouattara. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths The vital role family plays in society Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Sponsored Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debatescenter_img Liberia’s Information Minister Lewis Brown told The Associated Press that he disagreed with the report’s findings.“We do not support as any report claims or alleges that the government of Liberia is not doing enough to stop cross-border insecurity against a neighboring country because we realize that a threat to Ivory Coast is a threat to Liberia,” he said.Ivory Coast deputy defense minister Paul Koffi Koffi also said that Ivorian and Liberian authorities were collaborating to prevent further attacks.“We’re working with the Liberians and we have reinforced patrols along the border,” Koffi Koffi said. He said there was a joint military program in place, but that it was secretive and he could not provide details.Human Rights Watch said it had documented armed groups recruiting Liberian children and residents of several Liberian border towns also described seeing children at a training camp for fighters. A 17-year-old boy told the group he led a unit that included other children and that they had participated in cross-border attacks.The rights group says the government is also responsible for releasing “war criminals” from prison. In April, Liberian authorities released Isaac Chegbo on bail, a mercenary better known as “Bob Marley” for his long dreadlocks. Chegbo is accused of leading massacres in Ivory Coast last year that left more than 120 people dead. Comments   Share   5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Top Stories ___Associated Press writer Jonathan Paye-Layleh in Monrovia, Liberia contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 5 ways to recognize low testosteronelast_img read more

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Kyrgyzstans governing coalition collapses

first_img Top Stories New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan (AP) – The chairman of Kyrgyzstan’s fragile ruling coalition says it has collapsed after a major defection from the four-party pact.Kanatbek Isayev said Wednesday that the Cabinet, including the prime minister, would carry on their duties in a caretaker capacity.The fall of the impoverished Central Asian nation’s government had been widely expected and follows months of increasingly bitter animosity among coalition colleagues. Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Kyrgyzstan has been plagued by political instability since a popular uprising in 2010 led to the overthrow of former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev and the introduction of a new constitution that handed more powers to parliament.Explaining his party’s decision to leave the coalition, Ata-Meken leader Omurbek Tekebayev cited poor economic growth over the past year.Kyrgyzstan hosts a U.S. air base used for operations in nearby Afghanistan.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories 0 Comments   Share   How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img read more

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Report China factory activity stabilizing but still weak

first_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Manufacturing output held steady as new orders and purchasing activity in China’s massive manufacturing sector, which employs tens of millions of workers, rose slightly from the month before.“On the other hand, manufacturers continued to cut their staff numbers, with the latest reduction the sharpest in over six years,” said Annabel Fiddes, an economist at Markit, which conducted the survey. “This suggests that companies have relatively muted growth expectations as demand conditions both at home and abroad remain relatively subdued.”The results indicate that momentum in China’s factories is slowing in the current quarter, which Fiddes said “suggests that authorities in Beijing may step up efforts to stimulate growth and job creation” in the world’s second-biggest economy for the second half of the year.China’s economic growth fell to 7 percent in the January-March period, the slowest quarterly pace since the end of the global financial crisis in 2009. Policymakers in Beijing have already launched several rounds of stimulus, including cutting interest rates three times in six months and slashing bank reserve requirement ratios to free up money for lending, as they try to keep growth on track for an annual target of 7 percent. Top Stories HONG KONG (AP) — Chinese factory activity showed signs of stabilization but remained weak overall in June as it contracted for a fourth straight month, leaving the door open for further stimulus, according to a report Tuesday.The preliminary version of HSBC purchasing managers’ index rose to a three-month high of 49.6 for the month from 49.2 in May. The monthly survey of factory purchasing managers is based on a 100-point scale with numbers above 50 indicating expansion. Growth is slowing as China’s communist leaders try to wean the economy off of overreliance on trade and industrial investment in favor of a more self-sustaining model based on domestic consumption.HSBC’s survey is based on 85 to 90 percent of responses from more than 420 factories. The final report is due July 1.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories center_img Comments   Share   The difference between men and women when it comes to pain Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Top holiday drink recipeslast_img read more

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Workers look for 4 missing after explosion at UK wood mill

first_imgSearch and rescue teams from all emergency services search the scene of an explosion and fire where four people are still missing at in Bosley, Cheshire northern England Saturday July 18, 2015. The explosion took place at the wood treatment plant on Friday (Chris Neil/Sunday Telegraph/PA via AP) UNITED KINGDOM OUT NO SALES NO ARCHIVE Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Top Stories Sponsored Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Paul Hancock, chief fire officer for the Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, says the longer the four remain missing, the more “it is looking more like a recovery than a rescue operation.”Silos were being doused with water to cool down and thermal imaging cameras were looking for temperature “hot spots.”The cause of the blaze is under investigation.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Mesa family survives lightning strike to home 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist Comments   Share   LONDON (AP) — Search-and-rescue teams have entered the smoldering rubble of a wood mill in northwest England, trying to find four people who are missing after a massive explosion.The four — three men and a woman — are believed to have been at the industrial site when an explosion Friday ripped through the mill in the village of Bosley, in Cheshire. Firefighters with a sniffer dog entered the site Saturday. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies How men can have a healthy 2019last_img read more

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Expedia sees future free of online booking fees

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: G.A <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/1970d/” 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> Booking fees charged by online travel companies may be a thing of the past if Expedia Australia and New Zealand General Manager, Nicolas Chu, gets his way. “It is our belief that the travel consumer market is heading toward the elimination of flight booking fees and change and cancellation fees imposed by travel agents”.Expedia permanently removed flight booking fees in Australia and New Zealand in September last year, the first travel website in the region to do so.After six months it had further eliminated its cancellation and amendment fees on all flights, hotels, packages and car reservations booked on Expedia.com.au and Expedia.co.nz. “At Expedia we believe there is significant benefit in the long term by abolishing fees, and that increased volume will benefit our financial position over time,” Mr Chu said.Mr Chu claimed to have saved Expedia’s Australian and New Zealander customers over AUD1.8 million in booking fees “that deliver little or no value.”“Expedia.com.au and Expedia.co.nz are operated by the world’s largest online travel company, and as a result, we are able to absorb the fees and pass the savings on to the customer, offering substantially better value than our competitors,” he said.“I believe customers are going to expect that other online travel companies follow suit.”The announcement follows news of online travel company Webjet recording AUD10.5 million profit for the year ended 30 June.last_img read more

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Judge against Ryanair for imposing boarding pass penalty fee

first_imgA Judge in Spain has ruled against low-cost carrier Ryanair for forcing passengers to pay A$54 for failing to print their own boarding cards, according to a report in Bloomberg News. The 40 Euros penalty fee was unfair, according to the Judge, and should not be charged as it is general practice for an airline to issue boarding cards.”The normal practice over the years has been that the obligation to issue the boarding card has always fallen on the carrier,” Judge Barbara Maria Cordoba said during the ruling.”I declare unfair and therefore void the contractual clause in which Ryanair obliges the passenger to be the one who brings the printed boarding pass to travel or face a penalty of 40 Euros.” The Consumers Union of Spain (UCE) is supportive of the decision, saying Ryanair’s policy was “abusive”.”International air traffic laws, to which Ryanair is subject, oblige a transporter to provide the travel document,” UCE said in a statement.In September, Ryanair said it was Spain’s largest carrier, taking over Spanish airline Iberia in passenger numbers.  Ryanair can still appeal the ruling which was carried out earlier this week. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: D.Mlast_img read more

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Graham Werner is JTGs top sales rep in QLD

first_imgGraham Werner APT’s Business Development Manager in Queensland, Graham Werner has won the Best Sales Representative (Diamond Supplier) award at Jetset Travelworld state conference.APT National Sales Manager, Susan Haberle said this was a fantastic achievement, considering the large number of sales managers servicing JTG throughout Queensland. Source = APTlast_img

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Crowne Plaza celebrates Roy Morgan customer satisfaction award

first_imgSource = Crowne Plaza IHG Chief Operating Officer Australasia, Bruce McKenzie (front, fourth from right) with the Crowne Plaza Coogee Beach team, including General Manager, Leanne Graham (front, third from left). Yesterday, IHG’s Chief Operating Officer Australasia, Bruce McKenzie joined the Crowne Plaza Coogee Beach team to celebrate Crowne Plaza being named Australia’s most popular hotel brand.The accolade came as part of the 2012 Roy Morgan Customer Satisfaction awards, based on an ongoing survey of 50,000 Australian consumers and 22,000 business decision-makers.  “This is an award that gives the people behind the Crowne Plaza brand, our colleagues in our hotels, real cause for celebration.  Of all the accolades they could possibly achieve, it’s these votes of satisfaction from our guests that are the true measure of success,” Bruce said.“Every single one of our colleagues working behind the scenes in an Australian Crowne Plaza hotel deserves a share of this incredible validation of the great work they do every day.”last_img read more

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Easter travellers hop it to Sydney

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T. Sydney garnered the most bookings throughout the country over the Easter long weekend 2013.Sydney was the number one destination in New South Wales and the state ranked as the most popular to visit during the Easter period, Wotif.com reported.Newcastle, Canberra, Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour filled out the top five NSW destinations.“The Sydney Royal Easter Show attracted a huge crowd this year and with our great Sydney Easter accommodation deals, it’s not surprising Sydney came out on top,” Wotif.com Australia general manager Joachim Holte said.“Newcastle was a popular Easter spot, coming in second… there was no shortage of things to do over the long weekend, with the Newcastle Knights playing a home game and other events like the Bodhi Festival and Paul Simon concert that really drew in the crowds.”New South Wales’ top 10 Easter destinations in 2013 NSW was the most popular state over Easter.center_img Sydney NewcastleCanberraPort MacquarieCoffs HarbourHunter Valley Wine CountryWollongongAlburyDubboWagga Waggalast_img read more

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TripAdvisor users select Cologne Cathedral as the most popular landmar

first_imgPhotograph: KölnTourismus GmbH / Axel Schulten The online travel portal TripAdvisor recently announced the winners of the Travellers’ Choice Award for attractions. In the landmarks category, Cologne Cathedral impressed travellers from all over the world and came in first on the list of attractions in Germany. It thus came in ahead of Neuschwanstein castle (2nd place), the German Bundestag (3rd place), the Brandenburg Gate (4th place) and the Holocaust Memorial (5th place).The winners of the Travellers’ Choice Award for attractions 2013 were determined on the basis of the quality and quantity of travellers’ evaluations of attractions in each of the categories listed on the TripAdvisor website within a 12-month period. So far, travellers from around the world have posted a total of more than 2,000 (2,059) evaluations and almost 1,600 (1,566) photographs of Cologne Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site, on TripAdvisor.Josef Sommer, Managing Director of the Cologne Tourist Board, is delighted by the continuing popularity of the Cologne landmark at TripAdvisor. “The first-place ranking and the many authentic travel reports from the world’s largest travel community once again underscore that Cologne Cathedral is perceived internationally as an outstanding and unique example of all the things that Germany has to offer tourists,” says Sommer. Source = Cologne Tourist Boardlast_img read more

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Emirates to bring A380 to Perth

first_imgEmirates has just launched ten new A380 routes in 2014 ahead of a series of further launches planned for 2015, including the first A380 aircraft to fly to Perth announced in December.In 2015, Perth will join Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne as Australian A380 destinations with West Australian residents having the opportunity to experience the aircraft for the first time.The upgrade from a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft will see an increase in capacity of 131 seats per flight and 1,834 seats per week, thus reinforcing Emirates’ commitment to Perth passengers.Emirates executive vice president and chief commercial officer Thierry Antinori, said that 2014 was a record breaking year for Emirates A380 network.“Adding 10 new A380 destinations has given our customers more choice to travel to their favourite destinations and experience what this exceptional aircraft has to offer. Our onboard innovations across all three classes continue to wow our customers, and we hope even more travellers will have the opportunity to experience our industry-leading product as we expand our A380 fleet and network,” Mr Antinori said.In May, the Emirates A380 was the star attraction at the ILA Berlin Air Show 2014 drawing in thousands of visitors while on static display.In 2014, Emirates received 13 Airbus A380s, including its 50th A380, currently the world’s largest A380 operator with 57 aircraft in fleet, Emirates is expecting to take delivery of 15 more A380s in 2015.Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wisemanlast_img read more

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Tourism provides a strong framework for Australias economic future

first_imgTourism provides a strong framework for Australia’s economic futureThe latest International Visitor Survey shows a record 6.4 million visitors in the 12 months to December 2014.This highlights Australia’s tourism export industry’s growing strength as a contributor to our economic prosperity in the future.ATEC managing director Peter Sheller, said the strength of the export tourism industry is undeniable.“Despite the delay in this data set, there has been no misstep in the strong growth for Australian tourism, we have now, well and truly, burst through the $30 billion expenditure mark and our international marketing efforts are paying off with significant growth,” Mr Shelley said.“Our industry has placed itself in a strong position to fully realise the potential of a growing engagement with travel from Asian markets and we continue to be a highly prized destination for our traditional markets, particularly the United States and the UK.”“Australian tourism should be very proud, we have weathered a significant downturn from our traditional markets flowing from the GFC and are now seeing both a return of these markets along with strong engagement from new and developing markets of the east,” Mr Shelley continued.“These results give our governments, both State and Federal, an even greater impetus to be more focused on tourism’s success and to provide stronger supports for its continuing growth.” ATEC Source = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wisemanlast_img read more

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Air Serbia delivering strong results

first_imgAir Serbia delivering strong results book and fly Air Serbia Total operating revenue up by 29 per cent to EUR 95.5 millionTotal passenger numbers grew by over 19 per cent to 1.12 millionAvailable Seat Kilometres up by 10 per cent to 1.74 billionOn-time performance up by 13.34 per cent to 84.24 per centAir Serbia Cargo achieved 28 per cent growth in revenues with tonnage increased to 1,763Created 269 new jobsAir Serbia, the national airline of the Republic of Serbia, today reported continued improvement in its financial performance with operating revenues of EUR 95.5 million for the first half of 2015, an increase of 29 per cent over the same period in 2014.Although traditionally the winter season presents significant challenges in traffic levels, Air Serbia broke the one million passenger mark during the first half of 2015, carrying 1.12 million passengers, over 19 per cent more than the 940 thousand passengers in the same period last year.During H1, the airline’s passenger carrying capacity, measured in Available Seat Kilometres (ASKs), increased by 10 per cent to 1.74 billion.Despite the significant capacity increase, Air Serbia surpassed the aviation industry on-time performance standard at its hub, Belgrade’s Nikola Tesla International Airport, with an average of 84.24 per cent in H1 2015. This represents a 13.34 per cent improvement in performance over H1 2014.Air Serbia Cargo also performed significantly better in H1 2015, carrying 1,763 tonnes of freight, a 42 per cent increase on H1 2014. Cargo revenue grew by 28 per cent, an important and burgeoning service for Air Serbia.Dane Kondić, Chief Executive Officer of Air Serbia, said: “During the first half of this year we have continued to deliver against the clear commercial mandate set out by our two shareholders. These results are strong even when compared to the encouraging numbers we saw in the first half of 2014, the first full calendar year of Air Serbia’s operation.“We are pleased that our business strategy that combines sustainable, financially prudent organic growth and development through the expansion of codeshare partnerships, continues to drive our results.“Importantly, we have continued to grow not just in revenues and passenger numbers, but also in reputation, performance and maturity, emerging as a regional industry leader in a relatively short period of time.“As we approach our second anniversary later this year, we continue to focus on the enhancement of our offer and the development of our people. These are areas that are most directly related to our ability to deliver on superior standards of service, the key factor for our long-term success.”Air Serbia continued to focus on the development of human resources and employment opportunities, a crucial aspect of the airline’s overall contribution to the Serbian economy.In May 2015, Air Serbia launched a national programme of strategic cooperation with a wide range of educational institutions to match students’ knowledge and skillsets, and the requirements of the labour market in Serbia. The programme allows Air Serbia to identify and select students who are candidates for employment. The first Memorandum of Cooperation within the programme was signed with the Faculty of Organisational Sciences of Belgrade University.The growth of Air Serbia is also creating a significant number of new opportunities for Serbian nationals. In the first half of 2015, the airline grew its workforce by 269 new professionals. During this period, a series of employment events for cabin crew were conducted, attended by several thousand potential candidates.Air Serbia initiated and organised the new phase of its Graduate Management Development Program (GMDP), where eight young graduates will attend a training programme with Etihad Airways in Abu Dhabi. Starting this autumn, the program will run for two years, and upon successful completion, graduates will join operating divisions across Air Serbia. Currently, 28 per cent of Air Serbia employees are below the age of 30, in comparison to 4 per cent in the former Jat Airways two years ago.During the second quarter of 2015, Air Serbia significantly expanded its global footprint through new codeshare agreements and the expansion of existing partnerships with airlines including Etihad Airways, Aegean Airlines, Air China and LOT Polish Airlines. For the first time, Air Serbia’s virtual network exceeded its network of direct destinations.Muscat became the 18th codeshare destination within Air Serbia’s codeshare agreement with its equity partner, Etihad Airways. Air Serbia now serves 40 destinations directly, and an additional 41 global points through its codeshare partnerships, which include key destinations in Northern Europe, such as Vilnius, Tallinn and Riga; in Southern Europe: Heraklion, Corfu and Rhodes; in the Middle East and North Africa: Riyadh, Jeddah and Cairo and in the Far East, destinations such as Beijing, Seoul, Singapore and Ho Chi Minh City, in addition to a total of four cities in Australia.Ahead of the peak travel season, Air Serbia introduced an additional ATR 72-500 aircraft to its fleet. This is Air Serbia’s sixth ATR, repainted in the airline’s full red, blue and white livery, and with a completely refurbished interior. The aircraft operates in a full Economy Class configuration of 70 seats. With the new addition, Air Serbia’s fleet now comprises a total of 20 aircraft – eight Airbus A319, two Airbus A320, three ATR 72-200, three ATR 72-500 and four B737’s flying under the airline’s dedicated charter brand, Aviolet.Aviolet geared up for its second summer season, preparing to respond to the needs of Serbian tourists for comfortable, safe and affordable travel. Aviolet operates four rebranded and refurbished Boeing B737-300 aircraft, configured in a comfortable all-economy cabin setting of 144 seats.In June, Air Serbia received the highly coveted “Best of Serbia” award for 2014 as the “Best Corporate Brand” in the large services companies category. Organised by the Chamber of Commerce of Serbia and the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications, the “Best of Serbia” awards are an important national acknowledgement of excellence in various aspects of Air Serbia’s operations, its strong financial results and its contribution to the development of foreign trade and tourism.center_img Source = Air Serbialast_img read more

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TravelManagers continues commitment to cruise with new executive role

first_imgSource = TravelManagers Australia TravelManagers Australiabecome a Personal Travel Manager here Lisa Humphries – Cruise Strategy ExecutiveTravelManagers commitment to cruise increases with new cruise strategy executive roleTravelManagers, Australia’s leading personal travel manager network has celebrated the start of 2016 by attracting experienced cruise specialist Lisa Humphries who joins the company as Cruise Strategy Executive assuming executive responsibility for the development and implementation of the company’s national cruise strategy.TravelManagers’ Executive General Manager Michael Gazal says this newly created role demonstrates TravelManagers growing commitment to cruise as a specialist travel market.“Our recent years’ excellent growth in cruise sales show the significant contribution the personal travel managers make to the cruise sector, however we recognise the importance in taking positive steps to further promote the value of cruising and developing strategies and techniques in converting cruise enquiries. Our objective with this new role is to ensure TravelManagers is properly structured to maximize further sales and to enhance the current specialist cruise support for the personal travel manager network.”Gazal couldn’t be more elated that Humphries with her extensive cruise experience has joined the company.“Lisa’s wealth of knowledge, passion and expertise within the dynamic cruise industry is unsurpassed. Her innovation, out of the box ideas and forward thinking, combined with her exceptional networking and strong industry relationships will ensure TravelManagers cruise division continues to be a growing success.”Humphries is equally as excited to begin a new chapter with TravelManagers and will hit the ground running when she joins the company on 18 January.“I am delighted to have the opportunity of joining a company who has a true commitment to invest in and grow their cruise market. I believe the cruise industry is one of the most exciting and progressive travel sectors and I’m simply thrilled to be joining TravelManagers and playing a pivotal role in growing, developing and shaping the future of cruise for the company.”With over 25 years of travel experience in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Australia, Humphries more recently has over eight years specific cruise sales and marketing experience with start-up company Best Cruises. It was under Humphries leadership the company became a top agent for all major cruise lines (including P&O, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Holland America Line) within a year of opening. Best Cruises also won numerous industry awards, including three International Cruise Council of Australasia (ICCA) awards in consecutive years (2007, 2008 and 2009) and the Cruise Passenger Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Best Online Cruise Agency award in 2011.Gazal sees the cruise market as robust and the continued increasing sales results as proof that the TravelManagers’ mobile personal travel manager concept is strong.“An overriding objective of the national partnership office is to create a sense of family and a strong community spirit amongst our personal travel managers. The ability to be your own boss with the freedom and flexibility to work how and when you choose works.”The support from the national partnership office is invaluable for personal travel managers and this is further enhanced with the implementation of the Cruise Strategy Executive role.“TravelManagers make it our business to invest in the talent of our personal travel managers with training, famils, technical support and mentorship, amongst other things. A large appeal of being home-based is that personal travel managers do not waste time travelling to and from work, instead spending more time focusing on their client’s travel arrangements. With the help from the team at the national partnership office by eliminating costs and non-revenue producing activities, their income is substantially improved,” says Gazal.TravelManagers is well on its way to reaching the 500 personal travel managers milestone.“TravelManagers offer a truly national mobile personal travel manager network. The six locally state based business partnership managers together with the national partnership office ensure our personal travel managers have access to the broadest and most in-depth support and infrastructure available. This support is key to our success with all our personal travel managers across Australia providing personal and consistent service delivery,” says Gazal.For more information or to speak to someone confidentially about TravelManagers please contact Suzanne Laister on 1800 019 599.About TravelManagers TravelManagers operates in all Australian States and is a wholly owned subsidiary of House of Travel, Australasia’s largest independent travel company which has a forecast turnover of $1.5 billion for 2015. TravelManagers is a sister company to Hoot Holidays, also owned by House of Travel, and has more than 490 personal travel managers throughout Australia with a dedicated support team at the company’s national partnership office in Sydney. TravelManagers places all customer money in a dedicated and audited Client Trust Account which is separate from the general business accounts, ensuring client funds are only used for client purchases.last_img read more

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Dream Cruises launches Ageless Dreamers program

first_imgDream Cruises launches “Ageless Dreamers” programMature cruisers celebrate the golden years through inspirational journey of rediscovery on World DreamDream Cruises announced the launch of “Ageless Dreamers” Program, the first enrichment series at sea of its kind geared towards mature cruisers who yearn to expand their horizons and thrive in their golden years. The program offers year-round activities that encourage mature cruisers to push their boundaries and unleash their inner potentials, such as Dream Cruises’ first Tai Chi and Shaolin Wushu Academy at Sea, outdoor sports challenges, talent shows, nutrition workshops and more. To complement their journeys at sea, special privileges including complimentary beverages and desserts, spa treatment and retail discounts are available exclusively to Ageless Dreamers. Reap the health benefits of Tai Chi from Jack Ma’s Shi FuThe martial art of Tai Chi has recently become a global phenomenon with Hollywood productions on Tai Chi masters (Shi Fu) and endorsements by celebrities, among which includes Chinese business mogul Jack Ma. Tai Chi dates back to the 12th century and is an iconic embodiment of Chinese philosophy Yin and Yang – the ultimate balance of tangible dualities. The practice of Tai Chi requires self-discipline and total concentration, which promote a healthy state of body and mind.At Dream Cruises’ first-ever Tai Chi Academy at Sea on World Dream, Ageless Dreamers will learn the basics of Tai Chi from professional instructors of Wang Xian Institute of Researching The Arts of Tai Chi, founded by Grandmaster Wang, who also coached e-Commerce tycoon Jack Ma and curated the “Tai Chi Wellness 8” regime, which was originally customized for the staff of Alibaba Group. The Wang Xian Institute will be conducting the Tai Chi Academy for every 5 night cruise and the Hong Kong Masters will be conducting the Tai Chi sessions for every weekend cruise.For those who are already familiar with Tai Chi, they may master the arts of harmony and balance through Tai Chi class for couples and families, where participants bond with their loved ones through partner exercises such as tuishou (“pushing hands”) and sanshou (“Chinese boxing”).In addition, Ageless Dreamers on select sailings will have the opportunity to learn from the masters of Shaolin Wushu, one of the world’s most ancient martial art styles and best known for its origin of the Shaolin temples in China.  While Tai Chi is about fluid and gentle movements, Shaolin Wushu features a set of 18 basic movements that require high stamina and bursts of energy. At the ShaolinAcademy at Sea, participants will be trained by the professionals from Hong Kong Shaolin Wushu Culture Centre to push their limbs and joints to their full potentials through kicks, bends, stances and strikes.A little pampering goes a long wayAgeless Dreamers are encouraged to embrace their golden years with an open mind – new hobbies, new friends, new challenges… it is most important to maintain the best physique possible to keep up with this gratifying lifestyle. Holistic Wellness Guru Teressa Siu will share the key to Ageless Happiness through a series of talks, where guests learn the secrets to rejuvenate their lifestyles from inside out, starting with simple exercises to maintain inner emotional balance, and progressing along to a smart diet of superfoods for longevity and beauty.World Dream is home to Crystal Life Spa, the world’s largest wellness complex at sea offering a plethora of world-class professional treatments and amenities, including Western and Asian massage, fitness activities, healthy cuisine, medical beauty treatments and more. Ageless Dreamers can be eligible to enter a lucky draw to win complimentary body assessments and consultations (retail value: HK$380 + 15 percent svc) or 60-minute foot massages at the spa when they complete the walkathon and attend the spa talks thereafter. They may also select one of the Crystal Journeys, a signature series that caters to different needs for wellness, aesthetics and stress relief, each journey is customized to fit the guest’s cruising period.Light-hearted fun under the sunThe perks of cruise travel go beyond sunbathing on the open deck! Located on Deck 16 of World Dream, the Green Park is an outdoor game zone featuring a whopping 13 interactive games, including the popular “Tai Chi Racquet” – also known as Rouliqiu or Rhythm Ball, this new sport has swept nations worldwide as it combines the fun of badminton and the essence of Tai Chi and Qi Gong, requiring players to perform controlled and fluid movements while keeping the ball on the racquets.Walk your way to a healthier lifeHave a stroll along the boardwalk to enjoy spectacular views of the ocean – and walk your way to a healthier and fitter self! Do not miss Walkathon Wonder, where you will start your day with a refreshing walk on the open deck, followed by cool-down at Crystal Life Spa, where Ageless Dreamers will enjoy complimentary refreshments and a health talk.  To encourage adaptation of the walking lifestyle, all walkathon participants will receive a complimentary pedometer to keep track of their progress.Retail therapy for everyoneNothing wraps up a happy trip like a thoughtfully-chosen souvenir! Ageless Dreamers can find the perfect gifts for their loved ones and enjoy exclusive discounts on health supplements, milk formula and educational toys for kids at the Dream Boutiques, the premium retail shopping spaces on-board World Dream.Celebrate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day on World DreamTreat your parents and your kids to a multi-generational holiday at sea this year! Moms can enjoy some well-deserved “me time” with ballroom dancing and karaoke competitions, while dads can unleash their inner rock stars and have jam sessions with live bands on the cruise ship. Parents can bond with their kids (of any age) over fun-filled activities such as arts and crafts, scavenger hunts, look-a-like contests, sports competitions and more!About Wang Xian Institute of Researching The Arts of Tai ChiGrandmaster Wang Xian is one of the best disciples of 18th generation Chen-style Taiji successors, the Great Masters Chen Zhaopi and Chen Zhaokui and is one of the most notable representatives of the 19th generation successors today. Grand Master Wang holds the positions of China National High Grade Wushu Coach and Head Coach of the Wenxian Taijiquan Training Centre, Vice Secretary-General of the Wenxian International Taijiquan Research and Competition, Director of the Wenxian, Chenjiagou Martial Arts Training Institute, and is Head Coach and Head Advisor to Taijiquan Associations in Japan, France, Malaysia, South Korea, Spain, Greece, and in almost every province in China. He is also Vice Dean of the Henan University Athletics Department, Honorary Famous Lecturer of Henan Teachers University, and Executive Council member of the Henan Province Tourist Association.About Hong Kong Shaolin Wushu Culture CentreThe establishment of the Hong Kong Shaolin Wushu Culture Centre is initiated by the Hong Kong Culture Association Charitable Foundation (HKCACF). Since 2001, HKCACF has featured a number of big Shaolin programmes for which an increasing awareness and appreciation of Chinese art and culture has been seen especially among the younger generation.About Teressa Siu, award-winning TV journalist & holistic health coachMs. Siu is an award-winning broadcast journalist who has been in the journalism industry for over two decades with experience working with CCTV News English International, CNN World Report (I-Cable News), Channel News Asia, Singapore and TVB News (English) etc. Integrating her skillset as holistic health coach, certified raw food chef and yoga teacher, she produced and reported many reports on the imminent health issues in China. One of her major projects is an award-winning mini documentary on Cancer Villages that was seen by viewers around the world. In 2014, she decided to fully focus on her mission as a heath advocate and established LotusLifeTV, a broadcast house that specializes in health advocacy and education. She’s been invited to speak at international conferences on health and wellness.For more information about Dream Cruises, please visit dreamcruiseline.com and follow us on Facebook, Weibo or WeixinSource = Dream Cruiseslast_img read more

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