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40 suspected excombatants arrested in Ghana

first_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day After the fall in Ivory Coast of ex-President Laurent Gbagbo, thousands of Ivorians who had ties to the former leader fled across the border into Ghana. The government of current Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara has raised concerns about Gbagbo allies who are in exile in Ghana, accusing them of masterminding a recent spate of attacks on Ivory Coast military positions.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Comments   Share   Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project ACCRA, Ghana (AP) – A Ghanaian Interior Ministry official says that security forces have arrested 40 suspected ex-combatants at a camp housing refugees from neighboring Ivory Coast.Tetteh Padi, program coordinator for the Ghana Refugee Board, said late Monday that the arrests were carried out Saturday at the Ampain refugee camp in the country’s southwest. He said the suspected ex-combatants were being screened, and that some had been found to be legitimate refugees. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img Top Stories Sponsored Stories The vital role family plays in society Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breacheslast_img read more

Venezuelas Chavez appoints new defense minister

first_img Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona Sponsored Stories Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Rangel is a close confidant of Chavez who will represent the president’s ruling party in Dec. 16 elections to choose state governors and mayors.The United States has accused Rangel of aiding drug traffickers and the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. Chavez picked Rangel to run for the governorship of Trujillo, a state bordering neighboring Colombia.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion projectcenter_img Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day The difference between men and women when it comes to pain CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) – President Hugo Chavez has appointed the commander of Venezuela’s navy as his new defense minister, replacing a close confidant who he has tapped as a candidate in upcoming regional elections.Speaking during a telephone call broadcast Monday on state television, Chavez appointed Navy Cmdr. Diego Molero as defense minister.Molero, an admiral who has served as the navy’s intelligence chief, replaces Army Gen. Henry Rangel Silva. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 0 Comments   Share   last_img read more

Egypt VP ElBaradei resigns to protest raids

first_img 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Comments   Share   Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober CAIRO (AP) – Egypt’s vice president and pro-reform leader Mohamed ElBaradei has resigned to protest deadly police assaults against two sit-in protest camps by supporters of the ousted president.ElBaradei submitted his resignation Wednesday in a letter to interim President Adly Mansour. A copy was emailed to The Associated Press.He says he is not prepared to be held responsible for a “single drop of blood” and warns that violence will breed more violence and the country is more polarized than it was when he took office.center_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories El-Baradei was named Mansour’s deputy for foreign relations last month.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitylast_img read more


Biden defends US cooperation on Russia amid Ukraine tensions

first_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments   Share   Biden’s comments at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank, come more than a year after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. Kiev also accuses Moscow of arming and staffing separatist insurgencies in eastern Ukraine.President Barack Obama and Western allies have tried to inflict economic pain on Putin through multiple rounds of penalties. The leaders have also tried to isolate Putin by cutting Russia out of the Group of Eight, a high-profile partnership of world powers.Still, the U.S. and Europe have continued to work alongside Russia in the bid for a nuclear deal to block Iran’s nuclear program. Russia’s cooperation is also crucial to efforts to end Syria’s civil war, given that Moscow is the largest benefactor of the government in Damascus.“It makes sense to cooperate where there’s a clear mutual interest as long as you’re not being asked to back off,” Biden said.Biden, who has been in frequent contact with Ukrainian leaders over the past year, said he believes Putin is “practical” and will push as far as he can in Ukraine. He urged the European Union to renew sanctions enacted last year and said U.S. penalties would stay in place. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday defended the Obama administration’s decision to cooperate with Russia on areas of “clear mutual interest,” even as the West tries to punish Moscow for its actions in Ukraine.Biden said economic sanctions against Russia should remain until a peace accord with Ukraine can be put in place. He said the penalties and other attempts to retaliate against Russia are aimed not at forcing “regime change,” but at getting President Vladimir Putin to act more rationally. Top holiday drink recipes ___Follow Julie Pace at © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 4 must play golf courses in Arizonacenter_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Vice President Joe Biden speaks about the conflict in Ukraine, Wednesday, May 27, 2015, at the Brookings Institute in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) Sponsored Stories How do cataracts affect your vision?last_img read more

Russia angered by freezing of accounts in Belgium and France

first_imgThe Foreign Ministry on Thursday summoned Belgium’s ambassador and warned that Moscow would consider taking similar action against Belgian accounts and property in Russia if the accounts of the Russian companies and diplomatic missions in Belgium were not released.Russian Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said his government would challenge the seizures, considering them illegal, but he also acknowledged that Russia must be prepared for similar action elsewhere. He repeated that Russia had no intention of paying the $50 billion.Tim Osborne, director of GML, a holding company created for Yukos’ five major shareholders, said the judgment was “rolling out” in France and Belgium, with the expectation that it would continue in Britain and the United States.He said France and Belgium have frozen multiple bank accounts linked to the Russian government, beginning more than a week ago in France and on Wednesday in Belgium. He did not know the number of accounts or their balances, but said he expected GML would ultimately be able to recover the funds.“It’ll take years but it’ll get done eventually,” Osborne said.The Foreign Ministry said it issued a protest to Belgian Ambassador Alex Van Meeuwen, describing the freezing of the accounts as an “openly unfriendly act and gross violation of the recognized norms of international law.” Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian government on Thursday strongly condemned the freezing of Russian accounts in France and Belgium as part of an effort to enforce a $50 billion judgment for the destruction of the Yukos oil company.An arbitration court in The Hague, Netherlands, ruled last year that Russia must compensate the former shareholders of Yukos, which was destroyed in a politically driven legal onslaught that also sent its chief executive, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, to prison for 10 years. The accounts frozen in Belgium include those of Russia’s embassy, its missions to the European Union and NATO, and of a number of Russian companies, the ministry statement said. It made no mention of the seizures in France.Ulyukayev said the amount of Russians funds frozen in France and Belgium was “insignificant,” but he gave no specifics in remarks carried by Russian news agencies from St. Petersburg, where Russia’s annual investment forum opened Thursday.The frozen accounts in France include those of Russian companies held in the French subsidiary of Russian state bank VTB, Russian news agencies reported, citing VTB. No details were given.The Permanent Court for Arbitration ruled in July that the Russian government had used tax claims to take control of Yukos and silence Khodorkovsky, who had used his vast wealth to challenge the power of President Vladimir Putin. After Khodorkovsky was arrested at gunpoint in 2003, Yukos was dismantled and the main assets of what had been Russia’s largest oil producer were taken over by state oil company Rosneft.___Lori Hinnant in Paris contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories Comments   Share   Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies The vital role family plays in society 5 treatments for adult scoliosislast_img read more

Paint the town red white and blue at the Visit USA Seminars

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: C.F The Americans are set to paint the town red, white and blue when they make their annual trip to Australia for the Visit USA Seminars next week.  Australian travel agents are encouraged to attend the seminars to learn how they can best promote the US to their clients.The US will mean big business for agents in 2010, thanks to a never-before seen exchange rate, which has remained between the 80-90 cent mark.There will also be a number of great airfare deals to the USA from Australia this year and both Delta and Virgin have increased their capacity between the two countries. Last year when many other travel destinations suffered from the effects of the GFC, Australian visitor arrivals to the U.S continued to prosper, increasing by 4.3% during the January-November period.  In November, Australian visitation was up 27% from the previous year and Visit USA expects this positive trend to continue throughout 2010. Getaway TV Presenter, Catriona Rowntree will host this years’ Visit USA Expos, which will be held in Melbourne (15 February), Brisbane (16 February) and Sydney (17 February).  Travel industry attendees will have the opportunity to network with 30 visiting USA suppliers, 12 Tourism Bureaux and local representatives from major wholesalers, airlines, accommodation, attraction and car & camper rental companies including: Air Canada, Air New Zealand, Air Pacific, Apollo Motorhome Holidays, Asia/Pacific Travel Marketing,  Avis, Choice Hotels, Creative Holidays, Delta Airlines, Discover the World Marketing, Disney Destinations International, DriveAway Holidays, Explore Holidays, Hawaiian Airlines, Hertz, Insight Vacations, Intrepid Travel, Marriott International, Travel 2, United Vacations & United Airlines, V Australia, Qantas & Viva Holidays.For more information about the Visit USA Seminars, please visit: <a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a>last_img read more

British Airways increases codeshare on Qantas services

first_imgBritish Airways will expand its codeshare agreement with Qantas on a collection of existing Qantas flights across Australia and New Zealand, effective from June 14.The new agreement will enable British Airways customers to book seats on Qantas flights to Queenstown, Albury, Armidale, Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour and Wagga Wagga for travel after Monday 26 July.In addition, British Airways will develop its codeshare on existing Qantas services to a number of popular destinations including Auckland, Wellington, Canberra, Melbourne and Hobart.“We are very pleased we can continue to offer our customers more access to services in more destinations. “British Airways have a long-standing relationship with Qantas and a strong commitment to the Australian and New Zealand market, therefore we see great opportunity in expanding the codeshared services,” said Nicole Backo, Regional Commercial Manager for British Airways. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.F Qantas will also increase its cod eshare on British Airways flights between London and the wider Europe network including six new destinations: Rome, Milan, Toulouse, Prague, Warsaw and Budapest.BA will now offer Qantas customers connections to 29 destinations in total in the United Kingdom and Europe.British Airways and Qantas recently celebrated a 15-year partnership of the Joint Services Agreement which has recently been extended for a further five years from 2010. center_img <a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a>last_img read more

Another award sets TAFE as tourism training destination

first_imgTravel 21fiftythree, the tourism and events training section of TAFE NSW – Western Sydney Institute’s The Hills College, has received more proof of its excellence, winning the Greater Sydney Tourism Award for Tourism Education and Training. Presented on Thursday July 28 at the Greater Sydney Tourism Awards dinner, the award commends the efforts of the organisation in raising professional standards within the tourism industry. Located at the Baulkham Hills campus, Travel 21fiftythree also won the award in 2010.According to Head Teacher Tony Clarke, Travel 21fiftythree’s strong industry links contributed to the achievement of this year’s award.”To have received this award at last year’s inaugural event was rewarding. To receive this award for the second year running is amazing and can only be seen as an endorsement of our vision of an inclusive partnership between industry and the tourism education sector,” Mr Clarke said.”The result also stems from the positive culture that exists within the Travel 21fiftythree team.” Institute Director Francesca Saccaro said that the award demonstrated the common vision held by the Travel 21fiftythree staff.”The staff at Travel 21fiftythree are collectively achieving the goal of imparting skills that make their students job-ready for the tourism and events industry,” Ms Saccaro said.”This award is a tribute to the dedication and innovation of the staff as they explore new opportunities for their students,” Ms Saccaro said.Qualifications obtainable at Travel 21fiftythree include the Certificate III, Diploma and Advanced Diploma of Events and the Certificates II, III and IV, Diploma and Advanced Diploma of Tourism including specialist areas such as tour guiding, retail travel sales and tour wholesaling.As the 2010 Australian Large Training Provider of the Year, TAFE NSW – Western Sydney Institute provides a high quality and flexible training experience across more than 1,000 qualifications. Source = TAFElast_img read more


Visitor arrivals to Philippines grow

first_imgArrivals to the Philippines increased month on month in 2011 compared with 2010, a recent report from the Philippine Department of Tourism has revealed.According to the report, between January and October 2011, the tropical island nation played host to 3,185,866 visitors, an almost 12 percent growth compared to the same period in 2010.Korea has maintained its role as the biggest source market for arrivals to the Philippines accounting for 756,863 arrivals.The East Asian region made up 47 percent of the arrivals, equating to 1,511,389 visitors and recording almost 18 percent growth over 2010. Some 19 percent of arrivals came from North America, while the Australasia Pacific region accounted for just less than six percent of the total visitor volume (arrivals from this region grew by 14.85 percent in 2011).The Philippine Department of Tourism said the consistent upward swing of arrivals “augurs well to the country’s tourism industry”. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: G.A Visitor arrivals to the Philippines are on a consistent upward trend for all source marketslast_img read more


HNA launches exPacific Sun out of China

first_imgPacific Sun has been renamed Henna by new owners HNA Tourism who plan to have her service their home market of China when she relaunches in 2013. Cruise Industry News reports that the ship will undergo a refurbishment at the Sembawang shipyard, Singapore prior to being home ported out of either Sanya or Tianjin. Reports out of the Cruise Shipping Asia-Pacific conference this week also indicate that Star Cruises may be involved in the relaunch with the cruise line believed to have signed on to manage the vessel for HNA Tourism.The news came as a surprise to Star Cruises’ Australian office when e-Travel Blackboard posed the question this morning, with a spokesperson unable to comment. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Alast_img


Airlines use big data to improve customer service operations

first_imgIt also use a series of complex algorithms to collect and analyse large sets of data that are created during flights and gives crew tablets in order to collect operational or passenger data.  The world’s largest airlines are using big data in order to better tailor their services to customers.  “There’s a whole host of social questions that need to be answered,” American Airlines chief information and technology officer, Maya Leibman said.  However, the use of this data has caused privacy concerns.  The airline gives its engineers the Maintenix system, which allows engineers up to date information about the aircraft’s maintenance history and enables them to receive maintenance instructions, locate and order spare parts, and certify their work. On the other hand, Qantas uses big data in its engineering.   Etihad Airways, for example, uses pricing and management software to personalise the offers it sends to customers.  Finally American Airline are providing customer data directly to flight attendants, corporate account and flight history with the airline.  Source = ETB News: T.N.last_img read more


Chimu Adventures supports Pinktartica voyage

first_imgChimu Adventures, the McGrath Foundation along with Australian artist Ken Done showcased the up and coming feature voyage to Antarctica named ‘PinKtarctica’.The ‘PinKtarctica’ voyage will take place over 12 days, allowing travellers to explore the Antarctic Peninsula, whilst supporting the McGrath Foundation’s mission to raise money to fund McGrath Breast Care Nurses in communities across Australia while increasing breast awareness in young Australians.Travellers aboard the expedition will be joined by McGrath Foundation ambassador and director Tracy Bevan and Ken Done. Source = ETB Travel News: Megan Tran McGrath Foundation ambassador and director, Ms Bevan, said the fundraiser will go a long way in helping the Foundation ensure every family in Australia experiencing breast cancer has access to a breast care nurse no matter where they live or their financial circumstance.“We are proud to have funded 100 McGrath Breast Care Nurses working nationally, who together have supported over 25,000 families experiencing breast cancer in Australia. Remarkable events like PinKtarctica, will truly help us to continue to make a difference,” Ms Bevan said.​last_img read more


Cebu Pacific increases frequency between Sydney and Manila

first_imgSource = ETB Travel News: Lewis Wiseman Cebu Pacific Air (CEB), has announced it will increase flights between Sydney and Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Manila Terminal 3) to five times per week.Cebu Pacific Air general manager long-haul division Alex Reyes, said that the airline is delighted to increase the route frequency from Sydney to Manila.“We are delighted to increase the route frequency, following the successful introduction of flights from Sydney to Manila last September, this demonstrates our ongoing commitment to make traveling to the Philippines accessible and affordable for Australian tourists,” Mr Reyes said.To further stimulate travel to the Philippines, CEB holds a seat sale from Sydney to Manila until December 13, 2014 or until seats last.In October, Cebu Pacific Air was named as the Asia-Pacific Low-Cost Carrier (LCC) of the Year during the CAPA Aviation Awards for Excellence in Singapore.The airline currently operates flights to 62 destinations on 90 routes spanning Asia, Australia and the Middle East, and the carrier’s 52 aircraft comprises one of the most modern fleets in the world.Lonely Planet recently named the Philippines one of 2015’s must visit destinations in their Best In Travel 2015 list, while Flight Centre recently included Boracay on its list of 10 most popular hotspots for 2015.last_img read more


QLDs peak industry body celebrates women in tourism

first_imgQueensland’s peak industry body for tourism, the Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC), has called on other industries to join tourism and hospitality employers in addressing gender equalities in the Australian workforce, as part of celebrations for Queensland Women’s Week from 7 to 13 March 2016.QTIC Chief Executive Daniel Gschwind said now was the time for tourism and hospitality to continue fighting for gender equality and diversity in the workforce.“The theme of Queensland Women’s Week is ‘When women achieve, Queensland succeeds’ and nothing could be more true for the state’s tourism and hospitality sectors which employ a very high proportion of females,” Mr Gschwind said.“Tourism and hospitality in Queensland contribute $23 billion in expenditure to the state’s economy, therefore it is critical for our state to focus on equity issues such as narrowing gender pay gaps and providing more support services for women in the workforce.“The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has stated that societies and economies flourish when women and men are more equal. We want to see Queensland and indeed Australia positioned in a more positive light when it comes to gender equality,” Mr Gschwind said.There are many career paths in the tourism industry with a broad scope of professions and job descriptions, including in regional Queensland.“Women are very prominently represented in many leading roles in tourism in Queensland, including in transport, hotel management, tour operators, attractions, events, administration, research and travel,” Mr Gschwind said.“The accommodation and food and beverage industries for instance are employing more women than other industries in managerial positions (key management, general managers and senior managers), again demonstrating the importance of these industries for the empowerment of women in the workforce.”The Queensland Tourism Industry Council works in partnership with a variety of member organisations and industry partners, including many that are proud to have women in key leadership roles.In 2016, QTIC acknowledges a number of inspirational women making a difference to Queensland’s tourism industry:Julieanne Alroe, CEO, Brisbane Airport CorporationMary Carroll, CEO, Capricorn EnterpriseLiz Ward, Managing Director, Digital Coaching InternationalMelinda Watt, Vice President – Relationship Management, EarthCheckToni Brennan, CEO, Fun Over FiftyKerri Jekyll, Owner Managing Director, Get Wet Surf SchoolSusanne Becken, Professor of Sustainable Tourism, Griffith UniversitySonya Jeffrey, Managing Director, Ingan ToursKim Morgan, General Manager, Maroochy River ResortRachael Hodges, Assistant General Manager, Mossman Gorge CentreNatalie Chapman, Human Resource Manager, Mossman Gorge CentreJan Claxton, Owner, Ocean Safari and Ocean RaftingHope Rust, General  Manager, Pethers Rainforest RetreatElsa D’Alessio, Regional Manager Queensland, Qantas Airways LimitedSuzanne Miller, CEO, Queensland Museum NetworkVicki Jones, Owner Operator, Red Dirt ToursAmery Burleigh, General Manager, Sofitel Gold CoastMary-Clare Power, CEO, Southern Queensland Country TourismLeanne Coddington, CEO, Tourism and Events QueenslandKayleen Allen, Director, Tourism GemsPatricia O’Callaghan, CEO, Townsville EnterpriseToni Ward, Owner, Whitsunday Jet Ski ToursQTIC also acknowledges that it is a female Tourism Minister, Hon Kate Jones MP, who leads the Queensland Government’s tourism portfolio and the Department, also headed by a female Director-General, Megan Houghton.In 2016 Queensland is expanding International Women’s Day celebrations into a week-long, state-wide series of events and activities called Queensland Women’s Week.The theme for the inaugural week is “Good for her. Great for us. When women achieve, Queensland succeeds.” This theme celebrates women’s achievements as well as acknowledging that supporting and enabling women to take advantage of opportunities to succeed is good for everyone in Queensland.International Women’s Day, held on Tuesday 8 March, celebrates the economic, political and social achievements of women in the past, present and future.QTIC is the peak industry body for tourism in Queensland, acting as “The Voice of Tourism”. QTIC is a private sector, membership-based organisation which, since 2001, has worked to influence and shape the state’s tourism business environment. QTICSource = Queensland Tourism Industry Councillast_img read more


Star Ratings Australia launches 2016 campaign Star TrippingR

first_imgSource = Star Ratings Australia Star Ratings AustraliaStar Ratings Australia launches 2016 campaign ‘Star Tripping’Star Ratings Australia encourages Australian travellers to go star tripping on their next break by launching a series of star rated itineraries as part of its 2016 integrated marketing campaign.Star Ratings are an internationally recognised symbol for quality accommodation standards, used in more than 70 countries around the world. Star Ratings help Australian travellers make the right accommodation choice for them, ensuring the accommodation they expect is the accommodation they get.There are a variety of three, four and five star itineraries that have been developed for a range of different types of getaways, from outdoors and adventure through to luxury and indulgence.  A number of these itineraries will be brought to life using cutting edge 360-degree video technology to demonstrate how Star Ratings provides travellers with the full picture. focuses on building fresh and engaging content that will educate consumers about the benefits of independent reviewing in the travel industry. To help consumers better understand Star Ratings there is also an opportunity to test your star knowledge and win a tropical getaway by playing our unique Star Strike game.The 2016 campaign, led by Horizon Communication Group, is highly digital and will be seen across a number of digital platforms including Pandora. ‘I am thrilled to be a part of this campaign and to launch the interactive itineraries for Star Tripping. As we now have so many choices it is incredibly helpful to have a benchmark to help us narrow these down. I think Star Ratings Australia is crucial in helping the travel industry to maintain authenticity and accountability,” said Catriona Rowntree.“We are very excited to have launched Star Tripping. With widespread social media and self-ratings currently dominating the travel industry, independent ratings systems like Star Ratings are crucial for maintaining authenticity and accountability which is what Star Tripping aims to educate consumers about,’ commented CEO of Star Ratings Australia Michael Reed.last_img read more


Children Take Over PO Cruises Pacific Explorer in naming cere

first_imgChildren ‘Take Over’ P&O Cruises’ Pacific Explorer in naming ceremonyOne hundred and twenty children today ‘took over’ Pacific Explorer – the latest addition to P&O Cruises’ fleet – in a first of its kind naming ceremony on Sydney Harbour.Fresh from a multi-million dollar transformation adding a host of fantastic new features, Pacific Explorer had the ‘slime of her life’ when one of the world’s most loved adventurers, Nickelodeon’s Dora the Explorer, christened the ship by breaking a giant bottle piñata which burst with colour in front of hundreds of guests on the ship’s upper deck.In her first official duty as Godmother, Dora was joined by her closest Nickelodeon friends including SpongeBob SquarePants, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Skye from PAW Patrol who performed a celebratory welcome dance with families and the ship’s crew.P&O Cruises President Sture Myrmell was spectacularly ‘slimed’ by four honorary junior ‘mini-me’ crew members – a Kid Captain, Snack Boss, DJ Cruisin’ and Chief Entertainment Officer – who had won a competition to lead the festivities.During her recent dry dock Pacific Explorer emerged with exciting new features including the longest and wildest waterslides on an Australian cruise ship and an interactive water park, an outdoor lawn bowling green, P&OEdge – the cruise line’s signature adventure ground – and the new Southern Cross livery emblazoned on her hull.Building on the success of P&O’s partnership with Australian chef and restaurateur Luke Mangan, the ship was fitted with ‘Luke’s’ an al fresco fast-casual dining option offering gourmet burgers and a seven-course degustation experience called ‘A Taste of Salt’.Onboard today, the children had an opportunity to play with SpongeBob SquarePants and Patrick Star in the interactive waterpark, rolled lawn bowls with Skye from PAW Patrol and watched Patchy the Pirate get a birds-eye view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House from an 80-metre zip line. At lunchtime the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles surprised guests who were tucking into traditional Neapolitan pizza at the ship’s new ‘fast-casual’ dining outlet, 400 Gradi, from award-winning Melbourne chef Johnny Di Francesco.NSW junior surfing champion Sabre Norris who shot to fame on the American hit TV talk show Ellen was one of the children who met the world’s best pizza maker and paid a special visit to the Captain and the ship’s crew.Mr Myrmell said Pacific Explorer’s official naming ceremony was an action-packed extravaganza and a fitting celebration of P&O’s latest ship and its many onboard features.“Two thirds of our passengers are families and couples so it made sense for fun loving children and families to lead the celebrations while sampling all that Pacific Explorer has to offer,” Mr Myrmell said.“Pacific Explorer is the fifth ship in our fleet and the next stage in the evolution of P&O’s very popular modern Australian holiday offering. With more than 60 activities to do every day, the ship has something for every Australian from the young to the young at heart”.Vice President and General Manager of Nickelodeon Australia and New Zealand Ben Cox was delighted Nickelodeon characters were part of the festivities and Dora was selected to be Godmother.“Dora the Explorer is one of Australia’s most loved household names and is a family favourite who enjoys adventure and trying new activities. For all these reasons she is the perfect Godmother for Pacific Explorer. We know that children love Dora and all her friends at Nickelodeon and we’ve been thrilled to make hundreds of kids dreams come true by giving them the chance to meet their favourite characters onboard P&O’s latest ship,” Mr Cox said.Pacific Explorer’s cruises include a 3-night, X740 Food and Wine cruise departing Sydney on 21 September, 2017.Fares start from $369* per person twin share on the Explorer Sale. P&O CruisesSource = P&O Cruiseslast_img read more


Brand USA announces Australian Winner of its latest incentive

first_imgThe training program included different modules such as regions or experiences enabling agents to learn even more about the diverse destinations and experiences available for travellers across the USA. The addition of the 16 newly launched badges took the total badge count to 32 and based on the success of the program, new badges will launch in the coming months.Badges in the current program are listed below:Regional ExpertWinter SportsBig City BuzzGreat OutdoorsCoastal EscapesMusic, Culture and HeritageFly-DriveFood and DrinkFamily HolidaysCirque du SoleilLas VegasNational ParksLuxurySanta MonicaUtahPortlandDenverKentuckyPhiladelphiaLake TahoeMontanaBudgetAvisMacerich Shopping Centers & Fashion OutletsGreater Palm SpringsNevadaTri-ValleySan DiegoCaliforniaTexasNorth DakotaUniversal Studios HollywoodTo find out more about the USA Discovery Program, visit = Brand USA Brand USA announces Australian Winner of its latest incentiveBrand USA, in partnership with Delta Air Lines and Virgin Australia, has revealed the Australian winner of its largest and most successful trade incentive to date – Big Badge Bonanza.Designed to celebrate 16 new specialist badges on its official training site – the USA Discovery Program, Brand USA asked agents to compete for the chance to win a trip for two to any US cities on the Delta Air Lines network. 522 new users signed up for the Discovery Program training site across Australia and New Zealand, with a total of 5047 individual badge completions across both markets – an incremental increase of 56 per cent as a direct result of the incentive.The lucky winner is Nichole Hammer from Escape Travel in Bendigo, Victoria.  Delighted at her win, Nichole says: “I really enjoyed working through the USA Discovery Program. I have always had a special place for the states in my heart, but with my newly found knowledge I can now sell the states with confidence. It was such a surprise to have been called to say I won the major prize; I’m having fun planning my next trip – I’m thinking of visiting a couple of the southern states.”The USA Discovery Program is an innovative and interactive online training course that provides travel agents with the knowledge and skills needed to more effectively book trips to the USA. The incentive ran for two months and in order to qualify, agents were required to register and complete any five badges to gain an entry. Each additional badge completed gave agents a bonus entry into the draw to win.last_img read more


Travelport Smartpoint App preferred by more than 100 airlines

first_imgMore than 100 airlines have signed up for the Travelport Smartpoint Application (App) by Travelport Galileo. While speaking at the second edition of the ‘Student of the Year’ contest in New Delhi recently, Anil Parashar, President and CEO, InterGlobe Technology Quotient (ITQ) said that the product is a game changer in assisting airlines in driving additional revenue and the competition is still far away.“The response to the Smartpoint App has been phenomenal so far and we are in the continuous process of updating it. The travel trade is actively adopting it and more airlines are also coming forward to take it up,” Parashar stated.Parashar also informed that they intend to work with SKAL and CAPA in improving the skills of the youngsters. “We are committed to fill in the gap and churn out trained and quality staff. With the ‘Student of the Year’ contest we wish to create a platform for the students wherein they can showcase their mettle. We would like to expand this for travel industry by creating a talent pool which can benefit all. The travel industry is growing. Therefore the need of the hour is to have well qualified professionals serving them,” added Parashar.last_img read more


Tourism to overtake dairy export as New Zealands top foreignexchange earner

first_imgNew Zealand, the nation that was the first to commercialise bungee jumping, is counting on visitors to sustain growth after dairy exports slumped. Tourism might contribute to around half of New Zealand’s economic expansion, said Shamubeel Eaqub, an independent economist in Auckland.“We’re starting to see a broad-based recovery in tourism and serious dollars coming into the New Zealand economy. If we didn’t have that, then economic growth would be a lot lower,” said Eaqub.With the local dollar hovering just above a six-year low, travellers are flocking. Visitor spending jumped 38% to a record NZ$9.4 billion ($6.3 billion) in the year through September, the government reported.With airlines opening new routes from the U.S. and Asia and the visitor influx outpacing government forecasts, tourism is starting to rival dairy as the nation’s biggest foreign-exchange earner. According to a report released in October, New Zealand generated revenue of NZ$11.8 billion from international tourists and foreign students in the 12 months ending March 31, nearing the NZ$14.2 billion the country received for its dairy exports.Travellers from China spent NZ$1.55 billion in the 12 months ending September 30, a 78% increase from a year earlier, as per government data. Chinese visitor numbers are predicted to reach 600,000 by 2021, more than double the 265,000 in 2014.last_img read more


Another Week Another Drop in Mortgage Rates

first_img This week brought more news of declines in mortgage interest rates, according to releases from “”Freddie Mac””: and “”””:[IMAGE]In its weekly published Primary Mortgage Market Survey, Freddie Mac put the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate at 4.23 percent (0.7 point) for the week ending February 6, down from 4.32 percent previously. A year ago, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) sat at 3.53 percent.The 15-year FRM averaged 3.33 percent (0.7 point) this week, down from last week’s 3.40 percent.Averages on adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) also fell, with the 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM dropping 4 [COLUMN_BREAK]basis points to 3.08 percent (0.5 point) and the 1-year ARM decreasing the same amount to 2.51 percent (0.5 point).Frank Nothaft, VP and chief economist for Freddie Mac, once again pointed to weaker housing data as a factor in this week’s rate changes, noting declines in December “”pending home sales””: and a “”negative contribution to GDP””: from fixed residential investment.””Also, the Institute for Supply Management reported a significant slowing in growth in the manufacturing industry in December than the market consensus forecast,”” Nothaft added.In its own weekly survey, Bankrate reported a drop of 7 basis points in the 30-year fixed average to 4.43 percent, with the 15-year fixed falling 6 points to 3.50 percent.The 5/1 ARM also declined, decreasing 10 basis points to 3.27 percent.””Worries about a slowdown in the U.S. and global economics and continued skittishness about the health of emerging markets is pushing investors into safe haven U.S. Treasury securities,”” Bankrate said in a release. “”This has brought the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield from 3 percent down into the 2.6 percent neighborhood, with mortgage rates hitting levels last seen just before Thanksgiving.”” in Data, Origination Adjustable-Rate Mortgage Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Bankrate Fixed-Rate Mortgage Freddie Mac GDP Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Rates Pending-Home Sales Service Providers 2014-02-06 Tory Barringer Another Week, Another Drop in Mortgage Ratescenter_img February 6, 2014 411 Views Sharelast_img read more