Archive | December, 2008

Indonesia not likely to hit 2008 tourist target

The Indonesian Tours and Travel Association (ASITA) has expressed its pessimism that Indonesia’s target of receiving 7 million international arrivals this year would be met, local media reported.

By ASITA’s projection, by the end of this year the number of foreign tourists in Indonesia would only reach around 5.5 million or as many as last year, said Antara news agency.

Indonesia Tourism

Indonesia Tourism

Indonesia’s Tourism Minister Jero Wacik at the end of 2007 set the target of foreign tourists arrivals in 2008 at the minimum of 7 million.

However until October this year only 5.1 million of foreign tourists were recorded to have visited the country.

ASITA General Chairman Ben Sukma said the agency’s forecast was vased on a variety of factors particularly the current global economic crisis.

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Vietnam’s Top 2008 cultural events named

Cultural exchanges throughout the year topped the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism’s annual list of top events of the year, published by the ministry on Dec. 24.

The first Culture Day of Vietnam’s Ethnic Groups, held last April 19, took second place on the list, followed by Nha Trangs hosting of the Miss Universe pageant last July, Festival Hue in June, Festival Tay Son-Binh Dinh in August, the first international firecracker festival in Da Nang city in March, the Ban Me Thuot Coffee Festival earlier this month, the United Day of Vesak Celebration 2008 in May, and the 700th anniversary of the death of King Tran Nhan Tong.

The ministry also noted outstanding achievements in cinema and photography, noting that the film, ‘When The Tenth Month Comes’, was selected as one of the 18 best Asian films of all time by CNN.

The black-and-white photograph collection, Traditional Culture Identities of Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) Ethnic Groups also won the FIAP World Cup in Slovakia in August, the ministry said. Continue Reading

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Global economic crisis not to affect Malaysia’s tourism industry: official

The global economic slowdown would not affect Malaysia’s tourism industry as the country’s tourism industry was still competitive, a local tourism official said on Friday.

Tourists were attracted to Malaysia because of the relatively low cost compared with the United States and Europe, Malaysia’s national news services Bernama quoted Deputy Tourism Minister Sulaiman Abdul Rahman Abdul Taib as saying.

The Malaysian Tourism Ministry was aggressively promoting Malaysia’s tour packages in the Middle East, Australia and China, he said in Kota Samarahan near Kuching, capital of the Sarawak State in east Malaysia.

The official told local tour operators not to worry over the global economic situation.

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The Philippines aims quality air transport service

If travel by sea is the cheapest, by air is the fastest. Today, foreign travelers and cargo enter the Philippines by air through at least seven airports.

Now, more foreign airlines are flying in through the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) at Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga; Subic Bay International Airport (SBIA), as well as that in Kalibo, Aklan, among others.

As new routes open up, new airports and the upgrading of existing ones now take up commercial operation time of 24 hours/seven days a week. A total of 31 airports across the country are being upgraded into international standards to accommodate bigger aircraft and the increased number of passengers.

Last July 22, 2008, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 initiated its start-up operation that involved about eight domestic flights from Cebu Pacific (CEB), Pacific Air and were subsequently followed by other domestic flights from PAL Express and Air Philippines, the two (PAL Express and Air Philippines) make the largest operator at Terminal 3.

On Aug. 1, CEB started its international operations at NAIA 3, with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo among the principal passengers. It was actually the second time for her to fly into Terminal 3. Last June 30, she was among the first passengers to deplane at the facility when her PAL Boeing 747-400 arrived at 2:50 a.m. from San Francisco, the last stop on her state visit to the United States. Continue Reading

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The Farm in San Benito wins in Asia Spa Awards 2008

The Farm in San Benito, Barangay Tipakan, Batangas won Spa Retreat of the Year, besting 15 other nominees, in the recently concluded Asia Spa Awards 2008 held in the Salon of the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong.

Presented by AsiaSpa magazine, the region’s most recognized spa and wellness publication, Asia Spa Awards gave out commendations in 26 categories, including spa personalities, events, associations and resorts that set the benchmarks in the region. The winners were voted on by 29 independent judges. Over 400 industry stakeholders from all over the region were in attendance.

Ace Durano, Secretary of Tourism, said, “Winning among the world’s best serves as an inspiration for the Philippine spa industry and to the entire tourism force. We congratulate The Farm and the rest of the country’s nominees.” Continue Reading

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The Town House Galleria to offer guest wine exchange cellar

A Milan luxury hotel will offer what it calls the first “wine stock exchange” or cellar where regular guests can leave their bottles of red, white, rose and champagne.

The Town House Galleria, located in the elegant and historic shopping arcade Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, plans to open the cavernous cellar with special lighting and shade areas at variable temperature next spring.

Guests will also be able to buy well-known as well as rare wines and champagnes.

“This is for wine belonging to our guests. They travel, they like to buy wine in Italy, and so they will be able to leave it here,” said Elisa Dal Bosco, head of public relations for Town House Galleria. Continue Reading

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Sheraton Recognized as the Best Hotel Chain in Latin America

Sheraton Hotels and Resorts has once again been recognized by both Business Traveler and Global Traveler magazines as being the preferred hotel choice for travelers to Latin America, consolidating both its brand leadership as well as positioning within the region.

During the “Business Travel Awards Gala” held in Los Angeles last Wednesday, December 10, 2008, organized by Business Traveler magazine, Sheraton hotel was selected as being the best lodging choice in Latin America for the twelfth consecutive year. The magazine’s readers, who voted thru an open-ended survey in September, awarded this distinction to Sheraton for its outstanding guest service, attention to travelers’ needs and innovation such as the Link@Sheraton experienced with Microsoft.

Global Traveler Magazine also released the results of its annual survey, and for the fifth consecutive year, Sheraton was announced as the winner. The Award ceremony will be held on January 15, 2009. Continue Reading

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Mandarin Oriental Spa in Hong Kong to launch Sleep Ritual Treatment

In January, the Mandarin Spa at the Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong is to launch a special Sleep Ritual treatment for guests needing a little help relaxing properly. Priced at HK$1,400 for a 90-minute treatment, the ritual is designed to induce sleep through the use of music, scents and massage, thereby relaxing the mind and body simultaneously.

“It’s a fact of modern life that most people don’t get enough sleep,” said Spa Director Lynsey Hughes. “We all know that chronic sleep problems have been associated with a wide range of serious health consequences, and people who suffer from lack of sleep are less productive and more likely to suffer an injury or accident. Everyone can benefit from better sleep, and this treatment has been designed to instill peace and tranquility for a restful night.”

The Sleep Ritual consists of a Deep Relax Aromatherapy Massage with soothing vetiver, sandalwood and chamomile oils. Aromatherapy-style massage techniques help to promote the flow of energy throughout the body, while Swedish massage, particularly effleurage and other slow stroking movements, provide a sedating effect. Continue Reading

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Trisara Resort launches Promotion

Despite it being what should be Phuket’s busiest period of the year, a time when discounts are traditionally unheard of, the luxury Trisara resort has launched a promotion it hopes will tempt tourists back to the sunny blue skies of Thailand.

Available now until the end of April 2009, this limited time only discount makes starting prices a more affordable US$590+++ per night staying in a signature Trisara Ocean View Pool Room with breakfast.

The offer is available across all room categories from Ocean View Pool Room to the spacious 2-bedroom Ocean Front Pool Villa and is a perfect opportunity to stay in one of Asia’s most beautiful and sought-after resorts during peak season with savings of up to US$760 per night. Continue Reading

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Four new aircrafts of Zest Air now in its Clark hub

Zest Air, the Philippine local low cost airline formerly known as Asian Spirit, presented today its 4 newly acquired aircrafts that will soon serve its regional flights from the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA), the country’s alternative premier airport located in Clark, Pampanga.

Zest Air president and CEO Alfredo Yao led the presentation of the airline’s 4 new aircraft at the Asian Aerospace Hangar of the 2,500-hectare Clark Civil Aviation Complex.

Zest Air has acquired three M-60 airplanes with a seating capacity of 56, and an Airbus A320 with 162 passenger capacity. All four aircraft arrived at the DMIA’s civil aviation complex.

The carrier is planning to mount regional international flights from DMIA to serve the Asian region. Yao said the target regional destinations from Clark include Hong Kong, Incheon, Macau, Xiamen, Shanghai, and Bangkok.

Luciano, together with executive vice president and COO Alexander Cauguiran, and VP for operations and DMIA general manager Bienvenido Manga graced Zest Air’s presentation of its 4 new aircrafts. Continue Reading

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Cebu Pacific offers discounts for new domestic destinations

Travel and fly Cebu Pacific!

Cebu Pacific (CEB), the country’s leading domestic airline, is offering a Php500 all-in ‘Go Lite’ fare for flights from Cebu to Cotabato, Dumaguete, Iloilo, Legaspi, Ozamiz, Siargao and Tacloban. The seat sale is from December 17-19, 2008 and is good for travel from January 1-March 18, 2009.

This marks the opening of CEB’s new destinations from Cebu to Cotabato, Dumaguete, Legaspi and Siargao and the mounting of additional frequencies from Cebu to Iloilo, Ozamiz and Tacloban. On January 10, 2009, it will be the start of the new thrice weekly flights from Cebu to Cotabato and the four-times weekly Cebu-Legaspi service.

On the other hand, the thrice weekly Cebu-Dumaguete service starts on January 12, 2009 while the Cebu-Siargao thrice-weekly service will start on January 30, 2009.

Candice Iyog, CEB vice president for marketing and distribution, said “As we continue to take delivery of brand new ATR 72-500 aircraft, we will operate new inter-island routes and add frequencies to existing ones to encourage local trade and tourism. Coupled with our trademark low fares, we hope to stimulate travel despite market conditions.” Continue Reading

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Tourism industry in Turkey continue to grow despite crisis

Turkey’s tourism industry has been growing and will continue to do so despite negative effects of the global financial crisis, local newspaper Today’s Zaman reported on Monday.

Turkey has seen a significant growth of tourists in 2008, attracting 14 percent more visitors than in the last year, Kerim Cavusoglu, president of the Turkish Association of Travel Agents ( TURSAB), was quoted as saying, adding that the tourism sector in Turkey was in good shape.

He said Turkey “had the potential to turn the adverse effects of the crisis to its own benefit,” saying the country is advantageous in many areas compared to its rivals, most importantly that foreign tourists can find services with cheaper prices here.

Cavusoglu is confident that this year’s winter period will also bring more opportunities to the Turkish tourism industry than the previous years, and the next year is also “hopeful,” he added. Continue Reading

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