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Vietnam to host ASEAN Tourism Forum 2009

Vietnam’s capital city of Hanoi will be the venue for over 1,500 delegates, including policy makers and managers from ASEAN countries, to gather at a regional forum focusing on tourism slated for September 5-12, 2009.

The ASEAN Tourism Forum 2009 will include meetings of ASEAN tourism ministers and the ministers with dialogue partners.

Leaders of national tourism offices, the ASEAN task forces on tourism integration, and ASEAN Tourism Association Board will have working sessions within the event.

An ASEAN Tourism Expo (Travex) and various activities will also be included. Continue Reading

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World Tourism Day Recognized in the United States and Nations Worldwide on Saturday, September 27

Across the globe, September 27th heralds World Tourism Day, an annual event sanctioned by the U.N. World Tourism Organization.

In Washington this year, the salute will be highlighted at the Travel Leadership Summit, where 27 state tourism leaders and dozens of cities will convene to press passage of the Travel Promotion Act (S.1661 / H.R. 3232) and discuss other key issues to Congress.

The global theme of World Tourism Day, “Responding to the Challenge of Climate Change”, is among the key business and public policy issues fronting the U.S. travel industry. In June, TIA issued a Primer on Travel and Climate Change that provided a starting point for travel’s increased involved in environmental policies. Also, American Express and TIA will release next month a landmark Travel Sustainability Initiative that is designed to make crucial information available and to guide the travel industry in its response to assuring sustainability in travel and tourism. Continue Reading

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Oban releases preview of Face of Global Search competition results

The hunt for the face of global search is three weeks in. Oban Multilingual teamed up with global online publisher EyeforTravel to hold a competition to find out how people in different countries search online for their holidays.

Entrants go to the website , and are presented with a flash game in which to get to the next level, they must answer a question about how they search online for holidays.

Already the competition has had entrants from over 40 countries, and the results have been accruing in the Oban database. While Oban can’t give away all of its results until they are compiled after the competition, it has released some which show some interesting online trends developing.

Many of the entrants search online in languages other than English. Spanish, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, French, and others were all named as languages that entrants use to search. Continue Reading

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The Year of Faith Tourism 2009 Proclaimed by the World Religious Travel Association

The World Religious Travel Association (WRTA) has designated 2009 as The Year of Faith Tourism. Serving as a special time set aside for the promotion of and participation in travel by people of faith, the purpose and goal of the year-long celebrations and activities is three-fold: (1) Highlight the New Era of Faith Tourism. (2) Increase the awareness of the personal and communal benefits of Faith Tourism. (3) Contribute to the overall growth and health of the global economy, travel industry, and individual travel providers.

All sectors of society are encouraged to become actively involved in The Year of Faith Tourism including the media, governments, travel providers/suppliers, faith communities, and individuals. The official host of The Year of Faith Tourism is the World Religious Travel Association, the leading organization dedicated to the $18 billion faith-based travel, tourism, and hospitality industry.

“Never before has a time been so ripe for the promotion of and participation in Faith Tourism. Although religious travel is the historic forerunner of today’s mass tourism, only now is Faith Tourism beginning to make its presence and economic contributions known throughout society and the travel industry in a big way,” said Kevin J. Wright, WRTA president and author of The Christian Travel Planner. “Faith Tourism is a market that is currently experiencing extraordinary growth on multiple fronts and is poised to continue this trend into 2009 and beyond.” Continue Reading

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ACTA Agency of the Year awarded to Vision 2000 Travel Group

The Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA) held its annual ACTA Atlas Awards Gala at the Salon Ovale of the Ritz Carlton Hotel. This annual event recognizes the finest in the industry from Travel Professional and Travel Agency of the Year to Personality of the Year. In total, five Atlas Statuettes were awarded.

Vision 2000 Travel Group was awarded the highly coveted Canadian Travel Agency of the Year. The criteria as established by ACTA for this award, “recognizes a travel agency whose business development has been spectacular and innovative and whose outstanding influence and activity have advanced the status of the travel agency industry.”

“We are truly excited and honoured to be presented with this award,” said Joel Ostrov, President of Vision 2000. “It is recognition for all our hard work and our dedication to both our clients and our people. We are confident of our continued success moving forward with the finest team in the travel industry. We thank the ACTA committee for organizing the Atlas Awards Gala and all those who voted for Vision 2000 as Agency of the Year.” Continue Reading

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American Idol Step Aside; Cruise Ship Entertainment Takes Star Billing – World Renowned Stars and Broadway-Class Productions Are Transforming Entertainment at Sea

international cruise linesOscar-winning movie star Jennifer Hudson got her start at sea; world-famous opera singer Fredericka von Stade sets sail this year; the Boston Symphony Chamber Players and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art step on board as well, and The Second City, the comedy club that launched the careers of America’s funniest people, from John Belushi, Bill Murray and Martin Short to today’s hottest stand-up and TV stars, has audiences rolling in the aisles, even when the ship’s not moving.

The 12.6 million people who took a cruise last year are already in on the secret. For anyone else who has not had a vacation at sea in a while, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has a message: there’s a whole new world of entertainment out there and it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before on a cruise ship.

“A new generation of cruise ships offering state-of-the-art facilities and technology, including full-sized theaters and show lounges with totally professional production values, has enabled many CLIA members to make entertainment a top priority,” said Terry L. Dale, president and CEO of CLIA. “The results are world-class, and not just because these ships sail in all parts of the world.” Continue Reading

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As Memorial Day Approaches, Summer Tourism in New Jersey Grows Bright

The unofficial start of the summer season has arrived with Memorial Day just around the corner. The New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism’s informal survey of tourism industry insiders suggests that rentals have been strong, bookings for hotels and other accommodations are surging, campsite reservations are full and attractions are prepared to greet summer visitors.

Nancy Byrne, executive director of the NJ Department of State’s Division of Travel & Tourism predicts the summer tourism season is going to be a big hit. “As we head into summer 2008, there are many interesting dynamics to factor into the season, especially higher gas prices. In New Jersey’s case, we are just a tank of gas away from major consumer markets and we believe people will still travel to the Garden State for that summer shore getaway.”

County and local tourism officials also express a positive outlook for summer 2008. Officials in Monmouth County report that travelers are staying closer to home this season and are requesting information for day trips and long weekends, instead of seven or ten day vacations. Continue Reading

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Anantara Spa Emirates Palace receives “Best Spa” at MENA Travel Awards

Anantara Spa Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi was recently recognized as one of the leading spas in the Middle East and North Africa at the 2008 fifth annual MENA Travel Awards.

Anantara Spa Emirates Palace was awarded GOLD in the Best Spa category for its excellence, at the award ceremony held on Thursday, March 8, 2008. Following an extensive public electronic voting system, the finalists were adjudicated and the top three in each category were revealed amongst industry professionals at the grand gala dinner.

Collecting the award, Michel van Der Hoeven, VP of Development for Minor International – Spas, said, “I am delighted to be presented with this award which is testament to the high levels of service we offer our clients. Anantara Spas are dedicated to offering the ultimate in relaxation and rejuvenation and hosts a spa menu that is created with the customer in mind. This coupled with unrivalled service and care positions us as a leading spa in the region.” Continue Reading

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Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference predicts Record Breaking number of participants

Record Attendance at Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference

With experts forecasting continued industry growth, and a record-breaking 522 delegates in attendance – a nearly 30% increase over last year – a positive mood prevailed at the 12th Annual Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference (CHTIC), which took place earlier this month at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

Hosted by BHN, in conjunction with the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA) and the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), CHTIC brought together members of the hotel and tourism investment arena from around the world, to hear about recent industry updates and conduct face-to-face transactions with colleagues.

Further reinforcing the positive industry outlook was the large representation of bankers, comprising about 10% of the attending delegates, a significantly larger percentage than is usual at similar investment conferences. Continue Reading

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Thailand’s annual Tourism Festival and Travel Mart 2008

Thailand’s annual Tourism Festival and Travel Mart 2008 to be held 5-8 June, 2008, at Challenger Hall, Impact Muang Thong Thani Exhibition Centre, is to grow still further this year with the inclusion of exhibitors from Indonesia and Malaysia.

Already the biggest such event in the kingdom, the Thailand Travel Mart (TTM) 2008 Plus Amazing Gateway to Greater Mekong Subregion and Thailand Tourism Festival 2008 (TTF 2008) has grown steadily from being just a Thailand show to a regional show, targetted at both the trade and consumer.

According to TAT Governor Mrs. Phornsiri Manoharn, “This year, for the first time, the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) subregion is being incorporated into the event in line with the declaration of the ‘Visit IMT-GT Year 2008’ at the 3rd Summit in Singapore in November 2007.

The inclusion of both buyers and sellers from Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand will substantially enhance the appeal and value of attending the show for both trade and consumers, she said. Continue Reading

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Global Travel & Tourism Summit launches in Dubai

Some 1,000 industry delegates congregated upon Dubai for the launch of the Global Travel & Tourism Summit, this year launched under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

With representatives from 75 countries around the world, the summit is set to address the responsibilities of the tourism industry as its global influences increase.

“As the success of Dubai has demonstrated, Travel and Tourism can be a factor for growth, for jobs, for trade, for positive change – and above all, for understanding,” said Khalid bin Sulayem, Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) Director General, at the launch of the summit.

“We know, too, that this potential puts Travel and Tourism in a powerful position of influence right around the world.

“We are consequently very glad to welcome the participants to this Global Summit,” he adds. Continue Reading

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Tourism Cares Enlists Travel Industry Volunteers to Clean Up Louis Armstrong Park in New Orleans

Nearly 350 volunteers from the tourism industry will convene in Louis Armstrong Park today in a cleanup event orchestrated by Tourism Cares, an organization that brings together the travel and tourism industry to give back to its communities. Illustrating Tourism Cares’ commitment to help retool New Orleans’ cultural fabric, the cleanup recognizes the legacy and dignity of Louis Armstrong and all of the jazz greats who honed their skills performing along the African-American Jazz Corridor: Storyville to the Eagle Saloon on N. Rampart St.

The scenic and historic Louis Armstrong Park has been left largely untouched since Hurricane Katrina, and its famed lighted archway has remained dark. Tourism Cares volunteers will be involved in painting, pressure washing and general clean up of the 33-acre site from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and will officially unveil the restored statue of New Orleans’ jazz legend Louis Armstrong in a ceremony at 3:30 p.m. on April 18.

The effort of volunteers to repair this site not only restores its physical appearance; it also helps the local community reconnect with one of its most important cultural touchstones. This is especially meaningful now leading up to the annual New Orleans Jazz Festival.

“Louis Armstrong Park, and specifically Congo Square within, represents what some say is the single most important location of African-American heritage in our country — truly hallowed ground — the legacy of which must be preserved for generations to come,” said Bruce Beckham, executive director, Tourism Cares. “Rejuvenating this essential tourist and community landmark will help the city’s ongoing outreach efforts to bring visitors back to New Orleans.” Continue Reading

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